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snake bites

Posted by bmmalone (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 3, 11 at 7:45

My poor lab, Jack got into a fight with a copperhead. Obviously I took him to the vet. Initially we thought he had just one bite on his lip, then his paw started to swell - bite number two, and then his neck started to swell - bite number three. He had difficulty breathing for a couple of days, but seems to breath a little easier today. The swelling is just horrible. Poor kid. Luckily he can still drink, but can only take small amounts of canned puppy food. He's home at the moment so we can monitor him over the holiday weekend. This happened early one morning. That night we found a copperhead in the creek - minus its tail. We will never know if this was the one that Jack fought with, but in this instance I felt ok killing the snake. If you live in Georgia there has been an increase in snake activity this year, so be careful.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: snake bites

In Alabama, too. A friend posted on FB today a photo of a big one found in their garage. Then shortly after that they saw that their dog had been bitten by a different one. She is at the emergency vet now and doing well. But everyone, please watch your step and look out for your pets!


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RE: snake bites

Had a friend get bit by one after reaching into pachysandra to grab some weeds... In suburban Virginia!


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RE: snake bites

Yikes. I can only imagine how miserable it must be to recover from a rattlesnake bite.

My mother chose to have her dog get some kind of rattlesnake "vaccination" because they are often out walking in desert areas populated with rattlesnakes. It's my understanding that it does not protect against one of the most common types of rattlesnake we have here (one that has cardio-toxin, hemo-toxin, and neuro-toxin), but against the others it is suppose to offer some type of advantage. The dog would still need to be seen and treated by a vet, but recovery time is suppose to be much quicker and easier. Has anybody heard of this? I have wondered how effective this truly is for dogs at risk, or if it is... well... snake oil.


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RE: snake bites

For the OP and anyone looking for a revenge killing, how did you know that was the snake if you did not see the snake bite your dog? Did you make a positive ID? Many harmless snakes, like watersnakes and hog nosed snakes are mistake for cotton mouths. Also, killing one snake may not have helped, usually, where there is one, there are many - it is best to call a removal specialist or the human society.
For the last poster - Vaccines against rattlesnake bites is common and has been used for years and years. It is not snake oil. It can save your dogs life BUT it is only for healthy dogs and only against rattlesnake bites.
There are organizations which will work to help train dogs to avoid snakes which is the best scenario of all.
Due to the wet year this year the rodent population has increased dramatically which is why the snake population has also increased. Everyone out there should be careful and remember, those snakes eat rodents which can carry disease and damage property. The snakes are the good guys.


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RE: snake bites

Jack is doing much better, the swelling has nearly gone - we are now dealing with the bite areas. So far everything looks good.
Mazer, yes I am certain that the snake was a copperhead. I do not kill the 'good' snakes. We have lived here for twelve years and the first three snakes that I found (and thought were copperheads) I took to the nature center for them to identify. Yes, they were copperheads and they then showed me the difference between them and the good snakes. Over a twelve year period I have probably killed around 30 copperheads - so yes I know what they look like. Rodents are not so much of a problem as the neighbors cats keep them under control.


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Saying that you do not kill "good snakes" is like saying that all pitt bulls are bad dogs. All snakes are good snakes. They are native and deserve to remain in their environment.


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I'm lucky (so far) in that my dog is afraid of snakes and has never been bitten and I always seem to live where copperheads are abundant. I have a friend with a small terrier that gets bitten so often she keeps the medicine at home and treats him herself. He also gets sprayed by a skunk a couple of times each summer. Some dogs never learn.


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RE: snake bites

Mazer, I really did not like the tone of your post. Pit bulls are a good bread of dog. The owners of these dogs can train these dogs to be good loving pets, or otherwise. Pit bulls are not poisonous - like most good pet owners I do not have poisonous plants on my property - neither do I tolerate poisonous animals that may harm or kill my pets or my family.

Jack is still progressing well. The dead skin on the neck wound has been taken off and the skin in granulating and should heal within the next week or so. Poor kid is missing being outside but loves the extra attention!


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RE: snake bites

Mazer thanks for explaining about snakes and keeping dogs safe.


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"They are native and deserve to remain in their environment."

That sounds good in theory but is not practical. I feel no qualms over killing a copperhead found directly outside my garage anymore than I do about killing the abundant black widow spiders in the yard. Yet, I never enjoy killing anything.

Taken to the ninth degree, at some point we have all indirectly/or directly killed animals/bugs/spiders/snakes so we can live.


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RE: snake bites

Mazer maybe meant well, because I do agree that all living things have a right to live, but I have to say that were I bmmalone, I too would be somewhat offended by Mazer's tone. We live where there are copperheads and rattlesnakes, and we do not believe in needless killing of these poisonous snakes the various times we see them when we are in the forest around our home, and have given them lots of space upon seeing them and left them in peace. But it sure is not practical and rather shortsighted to say they "deserve to remain in their environment" and to put down someone who says otherwise, when that environment becomes my back yard where pet or very young child can innocently approach this potentially dangerous snake and be harmed. Yes---we make sure in our yard that the grass is always cut short and that there are no piles of brush, etc. that would encourage any snake from having a place to hide right in the yard, but the two times in the last 15 years that we did see a copperhead (one time) and rattlesnake (another time) right in the yard very close to the house, it was not difficult to make the decision to kill them. At times, we have also seen black snakes but since the consequences of a bite from them would not put life or limb in danger we would not think of killing them. (Yes---we do know personally a man who lost his arm from the bite of a poisonous snake). It is so easy to pass judgement on others, but it sure is much different when the reality is what it is.


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