Do you think my dog has a snakebite?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I live just south of St. Louis and have a dog that is in and out. He was over by the woodpile and yelped and came running to me crying. His muzzle is all swollen and he is crying. Do you think he could have been bitten by a snake or something?

Jenna Edwards – Canton, Ohio

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Jenna – that sounds like a very typical snake bite in my experience. Many dogs are bit on the muzzle or legs as they are either putting their curious little noses down by the snake or pawing at it. The area generally swells quite a bit and can be very painful.

I believe the most common venomous snakebite in the St. Louis area is the Copperhead which is a "pit viper". Fortunately, they are generally not fatal. Keep your dog calm and call your veterinarian. They may want to clip/clean the wound and give your dog something for pain and possibly an antibiotic.

An article that might be helpful to you is Snakebites from Copperheads.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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