When venomous snakes strike

When venomous snakes strike

When it’s warm outside, our pets aren’t the only ones raring to go. Venomous snakes perk up too. And when pets meet poisonous snakes, bad things can happen.

Around 150 thousand animals — mainly dogs and cats — are bitten by venomous snakes each year in the U.S. The vast majority of these bites come from pit vipers — mostly rattlesnakes, followed by copperheads and cottonmouths — while far fewer are delivered by coral snakes.

Snake venom affects several organs, so death can result from widespread bleeding, low blood pressure and impaired breathing. Some victims survive without antivenom treatment, but a lot more will live with it.

Coral snake antivenom is not available but pit viper venom is — that is, if the veterinary clinic stocks it. Before an emergency strikes, check out the antivenom situation in your area so you know right where to go.

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