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Beware of Copperheads

Please take a minute to read this as I hope it might prevent this from
happening to anyone else's pet. My 5 yr old Lab was bitten by a Copperhead
snake last week as I walked her (leashed) through my neighborhood tot lot in
Columbia, Maryland. I was able to see the snake and identify it and my husband
and neighbors confirmed it as well. Some things I learned with this incident that
I would like to pass along....

Familiarize yourself with the various snakes that are native to the area.
Click here for photos of copperheads . If anti-venom is needed you need to
know what kind of snake bite it is.

SEEK VETERINARY CARE IMMEDIATELY. We weren't even sure our dog
was bitten as she didn't yelp when it happened and we couldn't find any fang
marks on her. We took her to our vet just to "get her checked out" and within
45 minutes after the occurrence her face swelled enormously. Our vet found
fang marks on her muzzle and confirmed it was a snake bite. Prompt medical
care, and the fact that she is a large dog, SAVED HER LIFE. She spent one
and a half days at the emergency clinic in Annapolis. With 'round the clock
supportive care (and a $1200.00 vet bill) she was able to come home.

Keep numerous emergency vet clinic phone numbers and addresses within
quick reach. Not all emergency clinics are open 24 hrs nor do they have the
ability to obtain anti-venom. An emergency clinic in Leesburg had it on hand as
well as the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Anti-venom is used with a "wait and
see" approach as it is not always indicated and it poses its own serious risks
when administered. It needs to be given within 72 hours of the bite.

We are thankful our Belle came through okay, but we worry about venomous
snake bites taking the lives of other dogs or cats, especially if their people are
not aware of, or prepared for the possibility.


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Animal Advocates of Howard County | PO Box 1403 • Ellicott City, MD 21041
(410) 880-2488 •