(WIAT) — As the weather gets warmer, more people are getting out to enjoy nature and the sunshine. That nice weather includes some unexpected, and at times, unwelcome backyard dwellers: venomous snakes.
While wooded areas are snakes’ natural habitats and they remain an important part of the ecosystem, most people and pets choose to stay away from them. Naturally curious animals, like dogs, though, are especially vulnerable to being bitten.
Lillian Lalo with CBS 42 learned how vulnerable these animals could be firsthand over the Easter weekend. She and her husband were enjoying a warm Friday afternoon in their backyards when they heard their lab, Winnie, begin to cry.
Winnie had been bitten on the face by a copperhead. They immediately packed her into the car and headed for the emergency veterinary clinic.
“When we walked in, the lady at the front desk was like, ‘Oh gosh, we’ve got another one’,” Lalo said. “She was like, ‘It’s been insane, the amount of bites we’ve had come in recently’.”
Fortunately, Winnie received treatment, spent the night at the clinic, and with pain medication, is beginning to feel much better. She is expected to make a full recovery. However, Lalo says it was difficult to see her pet suffer so much.
“It’s heartbreaking to see your dog going through pain,” Lalo said.
Dr. Amy Tate with Riverview Animal Clinic on Highway 280 says they have seen more people coming in and requesting the rattlesnake vaccine. Tate believes more people are aware of the dangers snakes pose during the Spring season.
“Especially this time of the year, some bites can be dry, some bites can be very powerful because the snakes have been hibernating all winter,” Tate said. “Therefore, they don’t have a good measure on how much they’re releasing.”
Tate says there are signs, including swelling, that show up shortly after an animal suffers a snake bite.
“They’re painful in that area, they’re painful to the touch,” Tate said. “They won’t let you come anywhere near them. Usually if it’s on a foot, they’re carrying the foot up in the air because it’s, you know, they’re limping on it, not wanting to put it down, because it’s so uncomfortable.”
If you believe your pet has bitten by a snake, seek veterinary attention immediately. A few hours’ time could be the difference between life and death.