Anti-Venom: A Costly Decision
The cost of the anti-venom (option 1) was high with an estimated cost of $1,500-2,000 for the treatment over the next 24 hours. But, we had to act quickly or she would be gone.
For most, this financial decision, especially on a dog who was new to our family, would have seemed insane but lucky for us we had signed Lily up for pet insurance the week we adopted her because we have seen minor benefits of hedging your risks with our other dogs. But, this truly tested the limits. With pet insurance as our cushion, we made the call to administer the anti-venom ASAP and hope for the best. We did not really think, we just said to the vet, “We have pet insurance” and hoped for the best. The vet immediately said, “Oh, thank goodness. Let’s get started right now.”
The researchers categorized the dogs by the predominant breed identified by the pet owner on hospital admission forms. The 282 dogs included 76 breed categories. The most common were pit bull mixes, Labrador Retrievers, Chihuahuas, and Dachshunds.
Dr. Sarah Carotenuto is a board-certified veterinary specialist in dog and cat care at VCA Valley Animal Hospital and Emergency Center in Tucson, Arizona and an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. Her professional interests include emergency medicine, critical care, surgery, and ultrasound. After graduating from Duke University in 1999, Dr. Carotenuto worked in strategic business consulting in New York City, using creative thinking to clarify challenging business situations. She then realized she was having more fun in her volunteer work as a docent at the Central Park Zoo and walking dogs at an animal shelter. So she returned to school to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and graduated from North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2007.
Most dogs in the study suffered only one snakebite, but 10 had multiple strike sites. Strike locations included the muzzle, forelimb, hind limb, neck, chest, and globe of the eye. Ninety-six percent of dogs survived to discharge.
In her spare time, Dr. Carotenuto enjoys hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking and all the great outdoor time in Arizona—which puts her at risk for snakebites. She’s currently training for a triathlon. (And playing with a new pasta maker.)
The research showed that none of the evaluated antivenom products had a survival rate significantly superior to another. Instead, what appeared to be important to survival were the age and body weight of the dogs, number and location of snakebites, and whether the dog suffered a reaction to the antivenom.
What happens to a dog after a rattlesnake bite?
Your Dog May Act Like They’re in Pain
The majority of rattlesnake bites take place on either the head/face, or extremities of your pet. As you know, these bites can cause swelling, and tissue damage from the venom. This will contribute to the discomfort associated with rattlesnake bites.
Rattlesnake Bite , Antivenom, and Vaccines in Dogs
It was one of the scariest moments of my life when my dog Lily was bitten by a venomous Copperhead snake. All I could do was rush to the vet and pray for the best. But this very frightening experience has made me a colossal pet insurance advocate, and I hope my story helps you know what to do if you face a difficult life and death pet decision.
Many people say “poisonous snakes,” when really they should be using the term “venomous.” These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. Both poison and venom are toxic substances that can harm or kill you, but the difference is in the way the toxic substance is delivered to the victim. Poison enters the body through swallowing, inhaling or skin absorption, while venom is actively injected through a bite or sting.
We adopted Lily from the local animal shelter in April 2013 (just before she was due to be euthanized, sadly). She was a new member of our family but fell in perfectly with my husband and me, our other dog Bella and our home.
Fast forward five weeks later… Lily was enjoying a warm spring day last May in our backyard. We had never given a second thought to whether our dogs would be safe in our own backyard, and Lily really loved to explore and bask in the afternoon sun. When we called the dogs in for dinner around 5 pm, Bella came running, but Lily was nowhere to be found.
First, we thought she had run away (she was new to our household, so we did not really know), but then Bella ran back down to show us where Lily was — behind a tree licking her wound. Her typically little leg (she weighs 35 pounds) was as wide as a Great Dane’s leg! She could not walk on her tender, swollen foot/leg. We did not know what was wrong, but we picked her up quickly, put her in the car, and drove as fast as we could to the vet.