General Question

Coloma's avatar

Has anyone treated their cat for a rattlesnake bite?

Asked by Coloma (47110points) July 1st, 2012

My cat Myles was bitten on the paw last night by a Rattlesnake. He spent 3 hours at the emergency vet getting blood work, fluids, pain medication and other treatments. The vet was not encouraging about using the anti-venom as many cats have even worse reactions than from the bite itself. At $850 a dose and the high risk of complications she felt I should just take him home and monitor him along with some heavy duty opiate pain medication. He is doing well enough this morning, eating, drinking, just had his pain medication and I am massaging and treating his swollen paw/leg with hot compresses as per the vets advice. The risks still include kidney damage and necrotic tissue around the bite site. Has anyone here had a cat that recovered from a rattlesnake bite?

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24 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

I had a dog that was snake bit. We did not administer the antivenom because as you say it often does more harm than good. We monitored her, and as she didn’t get any worse we waited to see her reaction.

As long as he is eating and drinking I would not worry, but you may want to take him back to the vet in a week to check kidney function and to check and clean the wound site if it is getting necrotic.

Coloma's avatar

@WestRiverrat Yes, he will go back to my regular vet in a few days. Good news, I am hoping!
How long did it take for the swelling to subside and for your dog to get back to her normal self?

WestRiverrat's avatar

We got lucky and the vet figured it was a dry bite. She was back to normal in a week, would have been less, but I think she was milking the situation for all the extra attention she was getting.

Hopefully Miles just got a dry bite and it is nothing more than a localized infection.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, the vet said 25% of bites are “dry” bites, but Myles took a good hit of venom she said, from the incredible swelling of his paw and leg. I can’t believe how huge his poor paw is! Amazing! The good news was his blood work showed his kidneys were working well and his blood clotting factor is strong, both good signs. She said the venom continues to move around in the body for several days, sooo, watching for any bad signs.

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma: Mylo here; Let me know whether I can make a blood donation. My blood cures all.

gondwanalon's avatar

It looks like your cat has used up one of its 9-lives.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Awww, how very giving of Milo, does he know you’ve volunteered him? lol
@gondwanalon It looks that way….now if I can get over my fear that the damn snake is in my house or garage right now. shiver

SpatzieLover's avatar

Do you have a rattlesnake guru in your locale that can check out your property for you & find any hidden rattlers @Coloma ?

Sorry to hear of Myles bite. I have nothing to add to advice for him other than I’d probably baby him and not do the anti-venom.

Coloma's avatar

@SpatzieLover Impossible to catch snakes on all this land. Just keep the house area cleared as per fire code of 30 feet, otherwise it’s all wilderness. Yes, I am babying him and he is alert but stoned on his Oxycaton. I had to sign for Myles controlled substance. lol

Dutchess_III's avatar

If the cat was going to die, he’d be dead by now, so I think you’re doing the right thing.

josie's avatar

See above. I figure if the cat was doomed, you would know it by now. Poor ol’ kitty. I’m coming over and cut the snake’s head off with my Ka-Bar. I have serious antipathy toward land critters that do not have feet or a face.

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Hoping so, still not out of the woods for complications of all kinds.
@josie Well…first bite in 20 years, but have killed 2 huge ones at various times that were threatening the pets.
It’s a bad snake year in these hills, lots of alerts, a lab came in bitten on the face a few minutes after my cat.

Coloma's avatar

Update: 2:30 Sunday afternoon.

Myles finally succumbed to the haze of the opiates and has now been napping for 2 hours after a surprisingly active morning. I made him his very own opium den behind the fluttering sheer curtains in my bedroom. He seems very happy to bliss out in his tent of dreams.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Break out the hookah, @Coloma! Bring in the belly dancers!

WestRiverrat's avatar

You need to get some bull snakes. They are mean and aggressive, but they are nonpoisonous and they do not tolerate rattlesnakes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do they mind copperheads?

Coloma's avatar

@WestRiverrat Bull snakes are around here too I’m pretty sure. Are they also called Gopher snakes?

JLeslie's avatar

Poor kitty :(. I was just talking about snake bites last night. Saying I wanted to make sure the hospital nearest to me had antivenom for all the snake possibilities here. I didn’t even think about pets getting bitten.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Does @WillWorkForChocolate have a hot line?

WestRiverrat's avatar

This is a bull snake

According to wiki, the bull snake is a subspecies of gopher snake.

Brian1946's avatar

Per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_snake : “The common kingsnake is known to be immune to the venom of other snakes and to eat rattlesnakes.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_kingsnake

Coloma's avatar

Monday morning and Myles is doing well, the swelling is down some, but was told it can take a week or more. Just watching him still for any signs of kidney issues, loss of appetite, etc.
The bite site does not seem to be infected, watching it as well. So far so good. If he is not having complications by tomorrow or Weds. we should be good to go. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma: MIlo here; This is certainly good news, but I will continue to stick pins into my voodoo doll for the rest of the week.

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled Well make it a voodoo rattlesnake and stick it to it! lol
All over the hills there will be rattlesnakes flinching. haha

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