When you live in snake country, you and your animals are at risk for snake bites. What’s the right thing to do if you, your horse or your dog is bitten by a snake?
Frances Fitzgerald Cleveland lives in snake country just southwest of the Denver metro area in Colorado. She and her husband, along with her two horses, have experienced rattlesnake bites firsthand.
Most snakes do not want anything to do with humans, but when startled or feel threatened they will defend themselves.
When both of Frances' horses were bitten on the nose, she immediately called her vet, who advised Frances to keep the horses calm. The vet recommended Frances wait until she (the vet) could administer the nasal tubes, because if done wrong, an artery or vein could be punctured and the horse would drown in its own blood.
Once the vet arrived she treated the horses for the swelling of the nasal passages and face. Frances decided to wait on administering anti-venom because you can give it to a horse only once. With her vet's recommendations and her natural healing products, both horses fully recovered.
Adult snakes can control how much venom is expelled in a bite. A warning bite will not have as much venom as an attack/full-defense bite will. Frances discovered her pony had received more venom then her horse, because the whole side of his face swelled, while the horse’s swelling was confined to his muzzle area. It was theorized the horse received the warning bite and the pony received the full defense, “stay away from me” bite.
Bite marks are easier to see on a white muzzle than on a dark one, as Frances found out with her horse and pony.
When Holistic Horse published Shari Frederick’s Healthy Horse Hints “ Snakebite! Be Prepared ” Frances’ husband John shared his personal snakebite story and countering some of the advice included in Shari’s article:
John was working out in the field when he stepped on a rattlesnake. When the snake struck, John said it felt like he had been stabbed with a barbeque fork. Approximately 30-40 seconds later he felt his lips go numb. By the time he made it back to the barn to tell Frances he had been bitten, his leg had already begun to swell and he felt as if someone had beaten his calf with a baseball bat. John quickly changed his clothes, Frances grabbed her stuff and they jumped in the car to go to the hospital. Not even four miles from their house, Frances had to take over driving because John could not keep the car straight; he was starting to lose cognitive and motor skills.
Once at the ER, they eventually got him into his own room and administered the anti-venom. At this point John's bitten leg was so swollen it didn't even look like his leg. Frances applied her healing balm to John's leg which helped to increase the healing of the bite.
The ER doctor discovered John had been bitten by a three-prong snake, meaning the snake was in the process of shedding its fangs like it sheds its skin and so there were three puncture wounds instead of the normal two. John was in the ICU for three days, and within four to six weeks, John was fully recovered.
* Sucking out the venom doesn't work; it travels immediately through the blood stream.
* Putting on a tourniquet could increase the risk of fatal cellular damage. Unless you are miles and miles away from getting to a hospital it is not recommended to use a tourniquet.
* Icing the area does not work, and again can increase the risk of fatal cellular damage.
* Get to the hospital/vet as soon as physically possible.
* Wait for your veterinarian to insert nasal tubes, unless you are trained/skilled in the procedure.
* Natural remedies are always a wonderful complement to aid in the healing process.
Frances is the founder of Frogworks, natural healing with plants and essential oils for you and your animals. She wrote “ Do Our Horses Self-Medicate ?” and provided the holistic tip “ Caution: Essentials Oils and Eyes Don’t Mix .”
Photo by Shattil & Rozinski / naturepl.co
Kim Baker, KB Natural Horsemanship. Author, Animal Communicator, Horse Clinics, Retreats, Workshops, Lessons and more...Building quality partnerships and lasting relationships from the ground up. 303-981-2127, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kbnaturalhorsemanship.com