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My cat was bitten by a snake.

My cat, named Sweet Kitty, had only been outside for about ten minutes when he came in limping, bleeding and this really broke my heart, he was crying too.

Swelling can indicate a snake bite.

Blood was dripping coming from his front paw, and we immediately suspected a  snakebite because his paw was swelling rapidly.

We called Hillcrest Animal Hospital even though it was 10 pm.

There are several great veterinarians in Victoria, but I used Dr. Beck of Hillcrest Animal Hospital. He has the best laugh of anyone I know, he has been in the business of caring for animals for forty years this year and he has helped me raise six rescue pets over the last thirty years. I didn't hesitate to call Hillcrest even though it was past ten pm.

* Be sure to call YOUR vet if your pet is bitten by a snake to get their advice and direction.

Madison Etzler was on call and I'm so grateful to her for walking and talking me through it. Because there isn't an antivenom for cats only dogs, we chose to care for Sweet Kitty at home. We could not find the snake that bit our cat, and Madison let us know that copperheads were often not as fatal as water moccasins.

We have seen both snakes on our ranch so, it was a waiting game after home treatement.

Here is what I learned about snakebite treatment for cats and dogs.

How to Handle a Snake Bite with your Pets

Sweet Kitty survived the night!

Having given Sweet Kitty Benadryl, cleaned his wound, got him comfortable, set water out, and turned off the lights, we set a timer and checked on him every hour. By 3am he was purring again when I rubbed his belly so I was hopeful. I also gathered it was likely a copperhead bite since Sweet Kitty is still with us!

The next morning I called and spoke to Sandy, RVT-CVPM, at Hillcrest and she explained snake bite protocol which I added above in the gallery. She offered that cats will almost always try to fight a snake when they see it, while dogs instinctively try to sniff it, which is why vets see so many snake bites on dog's heads and faces. Sandy let me know that there was a vaccine for snake bites for cats and dogs. I HAD NO IDEA!

Sandy offered that the vaccine works for rattlesnakes, copperheads, and water moccasin bites. She offered that the vaccine slows the venom to give pet owners extra time to seek medical attention. "The vaccine can't stop the venom, but it will slow it down so you can get to your veterinarian."

You better believe I am vaccinating my pets from now on!

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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