September 19th is Snakebite Awareness Day. This is definitely an important topic for dog owners! Here in Arizona, we share our land with 13 venomous rattlesnakes. The Mojave rattlesnake is the most toxic, but the Western Diamondback is responsible for many more deaths. A Scottsdale, AZ vet offers some insight on this below.

Signs Of Snakebite

The signs of snakebite will vary, depending on what type of snake is involved. With many non-venomous snakes, you’ll just see some swelling and bruising. You might also spot those telltale puncture wounds. Venomous snakebites also cause swelling, but it’s going to be much more severe. It may also be accompanied by weakness, trembling, collapsing, dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and paralysis.


It’s important to understand that, even with venomous snakebites, there are variables involved. For instance, some snake venoms are more poisonous than others. Some snakes will inject more venom in warmer months. Plus, venoms don’t all act at the same speed. The proximity of the bite to the heart is another factor. It won’t hurt to do a little research, and learn more about our native snakes.

Local Snakes

An ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure here. Don’t let Fido run around off-leash, and don’t let him nose around potential snake habitats, such as brush piles, holes, or outcrops. We also recommend keeping walks and hikes to the daytime. Many snakes are nocturnal. Plus, it’s just harder to see them at night. (You’ll also want to keep the pooch away from bark scorpions, Africanized bees, and poisonous spiders, but that’s another topic.)

What To Do

Snakebites aren’t always fatal, but they do always require immediate veterinary care. The treatment will depend on the type of snake involved. However, no matter what kind of snake it was, the first thing to do is call your vet. You may need instructions on any first aid you should do before bringing your furry friend in. The heads up also gives the clinic time to prepare for their incoming patient. Put a muzzle on Fido before transporting him. Even the sweetest dog can bite if they’re hurt! If you can, carry your pet, as you’ll want to limit his movement. On the way in, try to keep him warm and comfortable.

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Scottsdale, AZ animal clinic, today!