Jun 26 2015

Attention Cottagers/Camper and Hikers: Massasauga Rattlesnake

Brava2bravaAttention Cottagers/Campers and Hikers!
This sweet dog was on vacation in Parry Sound when she had an unfortunate run in with a Massasauga Rattlesnake. Fortunately her owners brought her in immediately to O’Sullivan Animal Hospital for prompt veterinary care and has since gone back home with the owners and is doing very well! This is the second Rattlesnake bite that we have seen this summer!
Rattlesnakes are typically a docile animal, and biting is their last defense; if they feel threatened, they are most likely to rattle or retreat undercover. In Ontario, they can be found near the eastern shore of Georgian Bay, the Bruce Peninsula, and the north shore of Lake Huron; they live in a variety of habitats such as, swamps, marshes, forests, grasslands and rock.
Massasauga’s are venomous, but don’t always inject venom when they bite; however if they do, it is a medical emergency and requires medical intervention immediately. If you think a rattlesnake may have bitten your dog, seek prompt veterinary care.
If injected into a human or animal, the effects of the venom are the same as what happens to the rattlesnakes prey. The venom is a digestive enzyme, and IMMEDIATELY INTERRUPTS BLOOD FLOW AND PREVENTS BLOOD FROM BEING ABLE TO CLOT. This is an emergent and very serious medical condition – as well as being excruciatingly painful.
Seek IMMEDIATE veterinary care and DO NOT DELAY going to the nearest veterinary clinic. Do not wait for “morning”, “the end of the weekend”, or your “regular” vet. Immediate treatment may be the key to your dog’s survival.
Never apply a tourniquet, ice, cut the bite area or apply suction to the wound. Never try to catch or kill the snake; this is unnecessary, dangerous, and illegal due to the snakes protected status.
For your dog’s safety, it is always best to keep them on a leash, particularly in the areas listed above, known Massasauga Rattler sightings, and in areas you are unfamiliar with. A dogs natural curiosity and predator instincts put them at a high risk for bites.

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