This is Millie, though she’s not our dog, she and Mr F have a very special friendship, and she’s vacationed with us a few times when her parents have gone on holiday, so we can tell you she’s the cutest, sweetest little dog, who seems so human when she looks up at you with her big placid eyes, but she’s an amazingly fast little hunter who can sniff out and catch bunnies, voles, skunks, squirrels, and even snakes.
Last Thursday morning while Millie was out walking with her Mom, Debbie in Franklin Canyon, (a popular place to hike with leashed dogs, on the hill where Mulholland Drive meets Cold Water Canyon), she was bitten by a rattlesnake.
Ohmygod… Luckily Debbie didn’t panic or stand helplessly wringing her hands weeping or screaming as I would’ve done, but knew to rush the badly swollen dog to the emergency hospital, getting her there within half-an-hour of the bite. They kept Millie overnight, and sent her home the next day. We haven’t seen her, but I heard she’s recovered well, and the swelling’s back to normal.
There are rattlesnake warning signs at all the canyons in Southern California, which most of us ignore (including yours truly). I’m darn sure not many of us would know what to do if a snake should bite our pet.
Mr F asked Debbie, who gave him this advice:
- Carry the dog. Do NOT let him/her walk
- Identify the snake if you can
- Get to the nearest emergency vet that has the serum (Not all of them do!)
- Call the vet to let them know you’re on your way in, and that a rattlesnake bit your dog.
- Speed is of the essence. The serum is stored frozen and has to be thawed to use, so advance identification of the snake and the location of the bite (it was her nose) are really critical!
- The amount of venom delivered varies by the season, by age and by size of the snake
I just realized, I have no idea what to do if a rattlesnake bites a human.
A few emergency treatment tips on snake bites (excerpted from Mother Nature)
- Remain calm.
- Try to identify the snake.
- If you’re alone when you’re bitten, walk, DON’T RUN (the faster you move, the harder your muscles work, which will speed up the venom moving into your circulation).
- Keep the area of the bite below heart level (when you’re seated).
- Never mark Xs on the bite with a razor blade, or try to suck out the venom. “You can really hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.”
- Soaking a bitten hand or foot in a bucket of ice water usually does more harm than good, and could even cause frostbite, because for example, pit-viper venom makes tissues very temperature-sensitive.
- Forget about tourniquets, they can cause serious injury “if you don’t know what you’re doing”.
humans: same deal, pretty much. there are also a lot of herbs that are helpful for snake bites. could apply those on the way to get the antidote. herbs like plantain (Plantago major, not the banana-type fruit) have a long history of use in north america for stings and bites.
Thank you for answering my question Mahalia. I’m not panicking, but I think it behooves us to carry some kind of emergency remedy when hiking in them hills…
Is there a homeopathic remedy we could use? I know to use “Apis Mellifica” for stings (bee, wasp or fire ant) but don’t think it’s used for snake bites?
Where do we get herbs “like plantain”? At a Health food store?
Hmm, homeopathic for snakebite. Good question. Will have to look into this. Plantain is a very common weed here. I am not sure if it grows in southern cali. I will check. Here is some info on it:
Major Use: Wound healing (especially stings, bug bites, splinters, hemorrhoids);
Actions: Anti-inflammatory; Anti-microbial;
Best Form: Oil, salve or poultice (helps draw out poisons, soothe and prevent infection, e.g. bites and stings
Sounds like an important addition to the medicine cabinet, so how come I’ve never heard of it when it’s so useful and does so much?
I wonder whether it’ll grow as easily in a pot as the Aloe Vera plant on my patio? (I always use an Aloe Vera leaf for burns)
Plantain grows everywhere! http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PLLA
What a great weed! 🙂
Thanks for the link Mahalia.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Narrowleaf plantain” (known by the scientific name Plantago lanceolata L.) is a Noxious Weed. That’s why we don’t see it at garden centers!