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Posted by W von Papinešu on September 16, 2002 at 14:12:35:
In Reply to: NV Press: Dog owners should be alert for rattlesnakes posted by W von Papinešu on September 13, 2002 at 21:19:52:
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS (Denver, Colorado) 16 September 02 Surviving rattler bite no sure bet (Dr. Jeannette Barnes)
Question: A friend of mine has a dog that was bitten by a rattler. The dog recovered after a lot of treatment. Is this unusual?
Answer: It depends on the bite location, the amount of venom the rattler has in its fangs, and the animal bitten. When a cat is bitten, for example, the rattler has longer to transfer venom from its venom pouches to its fangs. This is because cats usually play with rattlers, ignoring the warning hisses and tail rattling. During this time, the rattler's load of venom becomes much larger, and when delivered to the unsuspecting cat, it is usually impossible to save the little animal.
Dogs, though, are quite different. They often are struck in the face, as their habit is to nose up to the snake, and they often are bitten in the nose. Circulation from that part of the body is good, so the venom travels quickly to the rest of the body, and recovery can be uncertain. Some dogs are blinded when the entire load of venom is delivered to the eye, but their life is spared.
Survival of a dog bitten in the legs or body largely depends on the amount of venom delivered and the swiftness of blood circulation in that area. Bites into major leg veins virtually guarantee death.