Nothing like petting your dog and finding blood on your hand when you pull your hand away. Not only is it gross, but it’s very frightening. So it goes when you have dogs. You never know what they are going to get into. We learned quickly that treating a dog’s snake bite is gross, but not very complicated (especially if it’s a dry bite). Needless to say, it’s not something we thought we’d have to do while living in a neighborhood.
Our home is in a relatively new subdivision. It sits diagonally across from an overgrown field in a half-rural, half-suburban setting. Last week we found a family of field mice living underneath the doghouse. We killed one of them and the rest ran away for cover. (We later found out that our neighbors also killed three mice last week). But, having lived in the country most of my married life, I know that mice draw in the snakes. And, living in Texas, we have plenty of snakes – rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasin, let alone all the other non-poisonous varieties. Oh happy day. Gotta love Texas.
One of the best things to do with a snake bite on a dog is to let it weep. Don’t cover up the wound as all the poisons and nastiness needs to leave the body. We watched it for a day or two to see if it would get worse. During that time James would dampen a paper towel with peroxide (instead of spraying it directly on the wound) and would gently massage the area, pulling out additional pus and poison. He did this three times a day and in-between that time we would just pat it dry with paper towels. Although dogs can run a fever and vomit (and other horrible things), he never did those things. We were very fortunate.
We ended up taking Sackett to the vet who determined that it was a dry bite and although there may have been very little poison or none at all delivered to Sackett, the bacteria in the snake’s mouth caused the reaction he was experiencing.
In addition to following our daily regimen, the vet placed Sackett on an antibiotic to fight the skin infection. Once the wound began to dry up and heal, we were able to bathe Sackett (who really stunk by this time) and really wash the infected area, removing the dirt and clean the matted fur.
So, if your dog is ever bitten by a snake, let the wound seep so that all of the poisons can run out of the body. If the wound begins to swell and doesn’t “pop” (sounds gross, I know), it may need to be lanced. Check with your vet and keep the area clean. Wash it as soon as you can so that you can remove all the dirt and debris that will cake on and in the fur.
Love your fur baby during this time and a few extra snacks and treats during the day make it a little better for your canine. Of course, treating a dog’s snake bite may not be this easy if your dog was bitten with a full bite, full of poison. Always take your dog to the vet.