According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the state is home to a variety of snakes, including several different types of rattlesnakes. While rattlesnakes are California’s only venomous snake, it is important to get your pet treated for any snake bite. Bites from even a benign snake are painful and can become infected and harm your pet.

Beware of rattlesnakes sign at the Pinnacles Overlook in Badlands National Park near Wall, South Dakota on October 29, 2015

  • All bites need veterinary care: If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should seek out emergency veterinary care immediately. It is not necessary to bring in or identify the snake; attempting to capture an already agitated snake could result in more bites and injuries. Your vet will be able to determine what the best course of action is for your pet.
  • Immobilize your pet: A snake bite is very painful; handle your pet carefully as even a normally calm and gentle companion could snap out if they are in pain. Do your best to immobilize your pet and the bitten area; this will help reduce the chances of your dog or cat harming himself in transit.
  • Don’t try to self-treat: The idea of sucking out the venom or cutting into the wound only works in the movies. Self-treating your pet could lead to further injury and will take up valuable time. Focus on securing and transporting your pet to an emergency vet as soon as possible.
  • Call the vet: If possible, call your vet to let them know you are coming in with an emergency and the nature of the problem. This will allow them to prepare for your arrival and begin immediate treatment on your pet.

Most snake bites are painful and while they need to be treated, are not life threatening. Dogs and cats who have been bitten and receive prompt medical attention generally recover fully from the experience.

The business end of a rattlesnake coiled and ready to deliver a lethal strike.

If you hike or play outside with your pet, you could encounter one of the area’s reptile species; knowing what to do ahead of time helps protect your pet and gives you peace of mind, too. To learn more about keeping your pet healthy all year round, follow our blog or contact us for the latest news, tips and trends in urgent veterinary care.


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