Monday, February 22, 2010

Thinking of Snakes with Queen Pouncer

I opened my email this morning with a letter from a local canine hiking club. The club organizer sent all of us this article about a dog down south who was recently bit by a rattlesnake. While my mind is often on alert for big cats, rattlesnakes are the potential danger we will most likely encounter on our hikes.
Thanks freestock, for your image.

While our weather here doesn't get cold enough for snakes to "hibernate" during the winter, I've never seen one during a winter hike and they usually don't come to mind until late spring.

Last year, I didn't think much about Kona and snakes as she was too nervous to do much exploring. But now, it's the sniffing and pouncing that keeps Kona spunky and stress-free. Every article I've read about dogs and rattlesnakes suggests to keep dogs leashed and away from brush and rocks. That's no easy task for Queen Pouncer.
There's that conservative voice in me that says I'll keep her out of the chaparral. But that means that I have to tug her away from her adventures.

A rattlesnake vaccine has been developed, but I have my suspicions about its effectiveness. There are also rattlesnake avoidance trainings for dogs, but they all use shock collars, which isn't an option for the painfully sensitive Kona Dog. (I'm also not sure how well a one time training works for dogs when they don't generalize well.)

I feel better knowing that of the handful of dogs that I've read about and know who have been bitten, all survived. I will be making calls to see which local vets stock anti-venom. And from here, well Kona, maybe you can steer clear of trouble.


Kathy said...

wow, those rattlesnakes are scary, We have them around here I always think about it in the spring when we go for walks, wish there were some really good answers on how to protect our buds...

Kathy said...

PS, great idea to call and see who has the antivenom, I think I will do that too! THANKS

AC said...

I just called Kona's regular vet and was told they have anti-venom and usually treat around three rattlesnake bites a year. That's kind of comforting...kind of

Sara said...

Oh, that is scary. I hate snakes. I've never seen a rattle snake around here, nor do I want to. That is smart to find out what vets stock the anti-venom.

We have to worry more about rabies and lyme disease here.