What’s That I Hear A’ Rattling?!? SNAKE!


Maggie-3We here at the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation want to make you aware of another serious threat to your family – Rattlesnakes!

A very dear friend of LBWF was out on a hiking trail this past weekend and sweet Maggie was chasing a squirrel along the path.

She followed it into a bush and was immediately struck!

Maggie is going to make it, but that’s because her parents followed through with preventative measures (vaccination) and quick thinking!

RattlesnakeRattlesnakes love the warmer weather and with Spring in full swing, snakes are starting to make their appearance in yards, hiking trails, etc.

If you live in areas where Rattlesnakes are common, it’s important to take preventative measures to protect your four-legged loved ones.


Rattlesnake Safety Tips:

  1. Get your dog vaccinated. A Rattlesnake Vaccine was introduced a few years ago. The canine rattlesnake vaccine comprises venom components from the Western Diamondback. This vaccine is meant for use in healthy dogs to help decrease the severity of rattlesnake bites and allow you enough time to reach an emergency veterinary facility for treatment. It’s important to know that the vaccine only lasts about 6 months, so regular booster shots are necessary.
  2. Keep your dog leashed! Most bites occur when a dog is off-leash or on a long lead. Keeping your dog at about 6 feet will keep them safer!
  3. Avoid areas where visibility is obstructed such as dense brush, high grasses, rocky areas, etc. If out on hiking trails stay on the path with your dog. You never know what could be hiding a few feet off the pathway.
  4. Know the symptoms of snake bites!
    • puncture wounds
    • severe pain
    • swelling
    • restlessness, panting, or drooling
    • lethargy, weakness, possible collapse
    • muscle tremors
    • diarrhea
    • seizures
    • neurological signs
  5. If you encounter a Rattlesnake it’s important to stay quiet & calm and slowly back away out of striking distance (usually about the length of the snake).
  6. If your pet is bitten by a Rattlesnake, it’s important that you quickly and carefully transport your bitten pet to the nearest veterinary clinic that carries AntiveninThe less exertion your pet puts forth, the bettermoving too quickly will make your pet’s heart beat faster, circulating the venom throughout their system even faster.  So move quickly, but resist the urge to panic and run.  The Antivenin takes 20 minutes to prepare, so calling ahead while you are on your way will save valuable time.
Additional Information Sources:

California Poison Control – Snakebite
UC Davis Veterinary Rattlesnake Guide (Downloadable PDF)

Maggie’s Harrowing Rattlesnake Encounter

Maggie Wearing Her HoodMaggie and her pet guardian were hiking up at Mulholland, as they’ve done many times before. She chased a squirrel under a bush, but unfortunately there was a rattlesnake under there that no one could see. She jumped onto the bush to try to get the squirrel then sprang right back out like it was a trampoline, looking very stunned.

That’s when Maggie’s owner heard the rattle!

Maggie's Swollen LipShe called to Maggie who came running back and she could see immediately that Maggie had been bitten. Maggie’s guardian acted quickly by calling the vet and getting Maggie back to the car slowly and carefully. Thankfully, Maggie had been vaccinated which bought them a bit more time. They were able to make it to the vet where she received a round of antivenin (antivenom), as well as IV fluids.

While Maggie had to stay in the hospital for a few days for some additional monitoring, she is one lucky pup with wonderful pet guardians who took all the right measures to ensure she make a full recovery.