There are several species of dangerous snakes in Texas: Rattlesnakes, Cottonmouths, and Copperheads, to name a few. These snakes are dangerous for humans who are bitten.  Often they can be fatal for our pets.

Snakebites are a real problem for pets in Texas. Immediate treatment can be the key to survival for a pet bitten by a dangerous snake.  Unfortunately, sometimes we don't recognize the signs of a bite until it is too late. Our pets can't tell us what happened.

Snake in a terrarium

Knowing the signs of snakebites on your pets can make all the difference in saving precious time in getting your pet the immediate medical attention they need.

Texas pit vipers, Rattlesnakes, and Copperheads are most often responsible for attacks on pets in Texas. Water Moccasins and Coral snakes are also present. Coral snakes have to chew to get venom in, which is rare. Because the bites are so rare, finding coral snake anti-venom can be most difficult.

SteveMcsweeny  Diamondback Rattlesnake

According to Veterinarian Nicole Dockrey, DVM, DAPPM the best course of action is prevention. Snakes are most active in areas with tall grasses, bushes, and woodpiles.  When you take your dog outside, keep it on a leash away from such places.  Make your yard snake unfriendly. Keep grass short and shrubs trimmed.

Snake, Cottonmouth, Coiled, Mouth open
TayRain  Cottonmouth

Snakebite vaccines are available for pets but are not 100% effective. At best, they may buy your pet time if they are bitten.

Signs of snakebite are rapidly progressive swelling, bruising, and pain. Black or bloody drainage from the punctures may be present, although seeing the small punctures may be difficult, if not impossible. Most dogs and cats are bitten on the head or mouth. This leads to difficulty breathing and progresses quickly to heart failure and death.

If your pet is bitten, get to the nearest veterinary hospital immediately. Do not take time to treat them beforehand. Tourniquets, lancing, or venom suction will not save your pet, and the delays caused by such treatments can be fatal.

Anti-venom is the only treatment. It doesn't cure the damage already done but prevents the effects of the venom from spreading and becoming fatal.

Vet taking temperature of a puppy

One thing is for sure because the threat of snakebites is ever-present in Texas, it is a good idea to have a pet insurance policy. Veterinarian treatment for snakebites can cost thousands of dollars. You must show most vet hospitals proof that you can afford to treat your pet, or they may be turned away.

To me, that is tragic.  That's why prevention is so important.

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