CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It is that time of year again, time for snakes to start making their way out of their winter habitat.
Area veterinarians are seeing an increase in the number of dogs bitten by rattlesnakes. In just the past week the VCA Oso Creek Animal Hospital and Emergency Center has treated 15 dogs for snake bites.
“Very common, a little early this year because spring is a little early this year,” said VCA Oso Creek Animal Hospital Veterinarian Dr. Wallace Graham.
The bites cause serious injury or even death to thousands of dogs every year. But there is a way to better your dog's chance of survival.
“If you live in an area, like out on the edges of town, then you have to know that this is a possibility, and if you live in those areas, there is a vaccine that can be given to dogs.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t need to be treated, but it does, we think, improve their ability to survive a snake bite,” said Graham.
Vets warn dog owners to keep their pets inside during the day when snakes are most active.
“What is important to know is that a snake bite usually causes immediate swelling and severe pain, and sometimes you can see the puncture wound, sometimes you can’t.
But if you find a little trickle of blood coming from a swollen area from your pet, it is probably a snake bite,”said Graham.
The Lone Star State is home to over 76 species of snakes, and if you include subspecies, that number jumps up to 115.
Regardless of whether your dog has been vaccinated, if they do get bitten, get them to a vet immediately.