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Old 04-28-2014, 02:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Snake Repellant/protection?

A friend, who's lived in the neighborhood for a while, told me that he's lost two dogs to "blood poisoning," possibly related to a snake bite. I did a bit of research and it looks like our area is home to the Timber Rattlesnake, the Northern Copperhead and the Eastern Cottonmouth.

How do you detect a snake bite in a dog? How is it treated? What do you do to protect yours? I've been scouring Amazon for snake repellant for the yard. Do you have any recommendations on that front? Anything else I can do to protect her? Many thanks!
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A friend, who's lived in the neighborhood for a while, told me that he's lost two dogs to "blood poisoning," possibly related to a snake bite. I did a bit of research and it looks like our area is home to the Timber Rattlesnake, the Northern Copperhead and the Eastern Cottonmouth. We just killed a western diamondback last week, it was very close to my fence

How do you detect a snake bite in a dog? How is it treated? What do you do to protect yours? I've been scouring Amazon for snake repellant for the yard. Do you have any recommendations on that front? Anything else I can do to protect her? Many thanks! I did a lot of research on snake repellents and the only thing I found is that they don't work.

I ended up installing this mesh hardware cloth all around my yard to keep them out. Mat 0.12" Mesh Hardware Cloth | Wayfair

There is also a "snake fence" but it didn't work for us because we have so much rock here. Snakes Control | Snake Barriers | Catch Snakes | Stop Snakes | Prevent Snakes | Keep Snakes Out ? Snake Fence Systems

This is the rattler we killed.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ugh! Glad you got that rattler before it got you! And thanks for the fencing tips. I'll get on it this weekend (weather's been getting warmer, so I'm guessing those suckers will start moving around soon.)
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Are you sure of the data you got (in DC area)

Washington DC Arthropod Biodiversity Project Colubridae......

The copperhead is not normally a lethal bite to a GSD. Several of our dogs on the team have been bit by a copperhead. We normally give a large dose of oral benedryl immediately and take the dog to the vet. If you did not see the dog get bit you will see the swelling and the tooth marks. Any swelling like that on a dog would get the same treatment.

When we go up into the mountains, there actually ARE timber rattlers. I carry injectable benedryl and dexamethasone as some areas are much greater than 30 minutes to get to a vet and the Timber Rattler can kill a dog or a person.

There are ways to snakeproof a dog using an ecollar. Not too common in the east and very common out west. I am frequently in the woods off trail in snake habitat with my dog and just use common sense.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the link you posted. It actually helped me calm down a bit.

Unfortunately, there seem to be a whole bunch of different accounts of what snakes are common around here (Like this one: Virginia's (friendly) venomous snakes - RVANews, or this one Snakes of Virginia), so I'm not sure exaclty how big the danger is, but, as with most things where the pup's concerned, I'd like to err on the side of caution.

I'll totally follow your advice on the benedryl and dexamethasone, when we go hiking. How do you go about the ecollar training? Do you just stop them, if they go nosing under any logs/in holes, etc.?
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DellaWrangler View Post
Ugh! Glad you got that rattler before it got you! And thanks for the fencing tips. I'll get on it this weekend (weather's been getting warmer, so I'm guessing those suckers will start moving around soon.)
Me too...I never heard one rattle before but knew what it was right away and I will never forget it!

If you decide to use the hardware cloth let me know and I will take a picture of how I secured mine. You have to seal the bottom of really good or they will crawl underneath it, happened to one of our neighbors.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have not done the aversion training.....my dog is a cadaver dog so I want him nosing around. Not sure the vet will give you these drugs without a good reason...anyone can buy one benadryl but u still need to get to a vet....that is your first line
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidigsd View Post
Me too...I never heard one rattle before but knew what it was right away and I will never forget it!

If you decide to use the hardware cloth let me know and I will take a picture of how I secured mine. You have to seal the bottom of really good or they will crawl underneath it, happened to one of our neighbors.
Yes please! I'm gonna measure the perimeter of the yard once I get home and order the mesh.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I do believe you are probably overestimating the risk given your area. What I was trying to say (from my phone) was that you can get ORAL benedryl over the counter (but chat with your vet!) -- the only reason I was able to get the injectables is we have had off-trail searches in remote rugged areas inaccessible by vehicles for upwards of 45 minutes, and 2 hours+ to the nearest dog ER. Most of NOVA is pretty civilized.

The Timber Rattler is not an aggressive snake and does a lot of posturing before it strikes. The copperhead is the most likely bite because they just freeze up and you may step on them, but the venom is not so horrible; the main issue is infection.

I really don't think you have to contend with water moccasins though. Maybe later with global warming.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks for the sanity check I've been reading up on the snakes (usual habitats, nocturnal, etc.) and feel less panicky, but will still get the mesh fence set up, just in case.

I'll also pick up some oral benadryl, since we go hiking up in the Shenandoah pretty often, so, if God forbid something were to happen, getting her to a vet might take a while. (But then again, I have my walking stick/hiking boots, so if I spot the snake before Della does, it shouldn't be that big of of a problem.)
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