Snake Bite: I think my dog got a snake bite. Again!

by TXsharon on August 15, 2007

in Uncategorized

Several years ago she was bitten on the lip by what I assume was a copperhead. I came home and her head was horribly swollen. The vet told me to give her Benadryl and that she would either live or not. He refused to see her.


I’ve given her Benadryl. She can move her leg and puts some weight on it but she is in severe pain.

On he inside of her leg there is a blackish purple area outlined by red. I couldn’t find any puncture wounds but she is in so much pain that it’s difficult to handle her even when muzzled. This site says that sometimes the swelling is so bad that the puncture wounds are swollen closed. Her wound is consistent with the information on that site but I’m also researching spider bites.

Part 2

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 15, 2007 at 2:52 am

Well, if I were you, I’d be looking for another vet. I’m sure if he/she got bit by a snake or spider and had swelling like that, they’d be whining at the nearest emergency room. You can tell ‘em I said that too. A-holes.

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mzchief August 15, 2007 at 6:06 pm

Get a new vet, NOW. A poisonous snake or poisonous spider bite is a life threatening event for a dog. Would you stay with an M.D. who refused to see a child who had been bitten by a snake or spider resulting in THAT type of swelling and/or suffering? The swelling alone could cause your dog to lose their leg or die.

Dr. Margaret Sterle who owns Pet Health Center just north of Decatur is a fabulous human being and a superb vet. She got out of bed at 5:am and saved my dog’s life. I doubt there is a better horse vet in North Central Texas. She has been my vet for 17 years. I believe she left another veterinary clinic in Decatur 15 years ago because she was NONE too happy with their approach to animal health care.

Good luck to your puppy.

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TXsharon August 15, 2007 at 6:53 pm

I did get a new vet and her name is Dr. Margaret Sterle. She has been my vet for several years now since that other snake bite incident.

She helped me through 2 ruptured discs with this dog and the spinal surgery. She also treats my horses. She is highly skilled at handling horses.

Ellie-smelly-jelly-belly is in the hospital with Dr. Sterle right now. She said that it was very serious and she is not sure what happened. Maybe it was a rattle snake since the Benadryl that I gave her every 4 hours throughout the night did not help. (I didn’t know we had rattle snakes in my area.) She said it was quite bizarre.

I am most upset. For one thing, after the response I got from the former vet and the success I had using Benadryl I foolishly thought that treatment alone would be sufficient. Dr. Sterle said she wished I had called her last night. She has never hesitated before to see me after hours. That was a foolish mistake on my part and I hope it doesn’t cost my dog her limb or her life. =(

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TXsharon August 15, 2007 at 6:54 pm

Another thing I like about Dr. Sterle is that she doesn’t let an animal suffer. Some vets won’t give pain medication but she thinks letting an animal suffer is cruel.

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mzchief August 16, 2007 at 2:35 am

Margaret wont let pet owners suffer either. She will be honest with you when it is time to end all the medical intervention and will not advise you do to it a moment before EVERYTHING that can be done is done.

Rattle snakes kill grown men, be heartened by the fact that Ellie is still fightening. Visit with Ellie a couple of times a day and it will give her more reason to fight.

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TXsharon August 16, 2007 at 3:05 am

I’m glad I found Margaret. She has been through a lot with me. We’ve met in the middle of the night more than once.

I ran over my son’s dog and Margaret did surgery on her. She didn’t survive though–died several days after surgery. It hurt Margaret to make that phone call. I could tell it in her voice. She was really pulling for that dog.

It’s amazing that a little 12 lb. dog (she is very swollen all over in that picture so she looks bigger) can survive a snake bite.

I’m going to go see her first thing in the morning. =) I’ll try to get some pictures.

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Priest January 9, 2008 at 5:37 am

My German Shepherd just got snake bit, I would imagine it was a Water-Mocassin – perhaps a cotton mouth or stump-tail. I gave Benedril and by reading your comments it is good to give dosage every 4 hours. I gave him warm milk, which is what my mother used to do to our dogs, many years ago, when they got bitten by water moccasin(s). After seeing our dogs bitten by these deadly snakes when I was growing up. Many times I watched as my dogs would surrounded a poisoness snake, either a water moccasin or a copperhead, and one would attracted the attention of the snake and the other grab it by the back of the head and shake it. I believe that the dogs tolerance to this horrible event is much greater than humans. However, most of my dogs have been large collies and german shepherds. The last such time that I found my animal bitten by a venemous snake was my border collie about ten years ago. He was very sick and ultimately came through by the grace of God, warm milk and lots of love. If I had a small dog bitten or a large showing similar symptons as your pics, I would definitely and immediately bring it to a vet. Thanks for the info.
Sincerely, Pres

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TXsharon January 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Priest, I don’t know if you read the many other posts and viewed the pictures about this snake bite event. My dog almost died!

I don’t know if cotton mouth venom is like rattler/copper head venom so I don’t know if the benadryl would work for that.

As you suggest, a large dog would handle a snake bite easier than a small dog but I would still advise anyone to call the vet immediately. A snake bite is horribly painful and my dog suffered tremendously because I delayed taking her to the vet. I regret that.

Good luck

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Anonymous April 1, 2008 at 9:51 pm

all i got to say is if that was my dog and that doctor refuse to look at him i would burn that office down.thats bull crap.his musta been on drugs,lol!!

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Anonymous July 4, 2008 at 2:49 am

My boxer was bitten on her back right foot by a baby copperhead and I took her to the vet and he immmediately started a round of antibiotics, prednesone, and pain medicine.I had already given her Benedryl but I didn’t hesitate to get her to the vet because I knew that the bite was bad. I wish I could show you a picture of her leg. She is going to make it but I am having to keep her on medication and weekly trips to the vet to see how her progress is. The vet was first concerned that she might lose her leg and then he was concerned that the poison was going to go past her hip into her organs. The skin is dead on top of her paw and the vet is going to have to cauterize it as it begins to heal.

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Anonymous July 7, 2008 at 4:34 pm

My chwawa just got bitten on her snout yesterday an we gave her benedryl but are still unsure of what to do with her. Im really worried about her an i wanna take her to the vet but dad dosnt think they can do anything for her. What should i do??

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TXsharon July 7, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Get her to the vet ASAP!!! If you look at the other pictures of my dog, you will see that they can do a lot to save them.

Some snakes cause the blood vessels to deteriorate. They gave my dog vitamin K shots to help her blood clot. And they will give her antibiotics. I nearly lost her but she is happy and healthy now.

Get her to the vet right away.

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Anonymous July 7, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Is it important to know what kinda snake?…We dont know what kind it was just that it was in the woods and that it was pos.Shes swelling even more….:(((((((((((((((((((( id wanna lose her

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TXsharon July 7, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Knowing the kind of snake would help but the vet can tell if she is hemorrhaging and give her clotting medication.

Please take her. Snake bites are horribly painful. It’s more humane to get her treated.

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Anonymous July 7, 2008 at 7:04 pm

Thank you soooo much for your help i will talk my parents into taking her….

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Barbara October 31, 2009 at 11:36 pm

I hope this helps someone else. My Jack Russell was bitten on the face by a moccasin. I was told different things by various vet offices and finally took him in to an emergency clinic (Saturday) a few hours after the bite. Snake bites can cause a drop in the platelet count in dogs and subsequent internal bleeding. The animal's airway can become compromised from swelling. A moccasin's bite causes the tissue around the bite to die. Infection is a potential problem.
Animals need vet care in the immediate time period after a bite. Bites are very painful. Vets will start pain meds, an antibiotic, and do blood work. If the airway becomes compromised, he can insert an endotracheal tube. I took photos of the dead snake with me although my vet didn't need antivenin which is very expensive.
Usually, the above measures will prevent death in a pet.
Aspirin nor Benadryl is recommended. The swelling is not from an allergic reaction. Aspirin is an anticoagulant and since clotting factors as at issue, this is not a good idea.

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Anonymous February 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm

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Best wishes

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lisa henning April 9, 2012 at 10:33 am

My Catoula was bitten by a copper head on the nose. I immediatly gave her 3 benadryl she weighs 76 lbs. Her nose and throat swelled really big, we took her to 24 emergecy animicl clinic and he gave her antiobics and pain medicine. She sleep still all night and went out this morning to pee. Hope she gets better. Vet told me that benadryl did not help but the swelling did go down a bit before we got to hosipital.

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TXsharon April 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

My vet gave my dog vitamin K and that seemed to help her a lot. She has now survived 2 copper head bites and one rattle snake and she only weighs about 12 lbs.

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Doreen January 25, 2013 at 4:02 am

Hi, going into brown snake country, and I need to know about vitamin K for bights, as too far from vet. doreen

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TXsharon January 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

My vet told me the vitamin K is for vipers because their venom breaks down the circulatory system. But I don’t really know so please check it out.

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