Summer Safety in Santa Clarita
We all love to bask in the California sun and rattlesnakes are no exception. Snakebite envenomation is something that is frequently seen in the animal ER. The Western Rattlesnake is the most common in our region.
What are the general signs of a snakebite wound?
Snakebites are not always easy to diagnose, especially if it was an unobserved bite and if a pet has a heavy hair coat that may hide puncture wounds. The initial signs are swelling, and clinical signs may develop immediately or be delayed for several hours. Bruising and skin discoloration often occurs and there is usually intense and immediate pain at the site of the bite. Swelling is generally progressive for up to 36 hours.
Since the onset of clinical signs can be delayed for several hours, all pets that have been bitten by a snake should be hospitalized for at least 12 hours and ideally 24 hours. Antivenom is the only proven treatment against pit viper envenomation, and the earlier it is administered, the more effective its action. The biggest downside to antivenom is cost, and it can range anywhere from $650 to $900 per vial. Usually a single vial will control the envenomation but several vials may be necessary, especially in small dogs or cats. Blood work is also recommended to monitor your pet’s platelet count as well as clotting times of the blood. Additionally, IV fluid support, intensive pain management, antibiotics and wound monitoring are required for best clinical outcomes. Blood and plasma transfusions are sometimes needed in severe envenomation.
For more information, please call Valencia Veterinary Center at 661-263-9000 and visit online at www.bestvalenciavet.com.
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