I‘ve been meaning to share this information for some time, but now that one of my barn cats got snake bit again, I decided to post the remedy I have used several times with success. The animal I’m dealing with was barely grazed in the paw, and is not in serious condition. However, I’ve dealt with five gruesome bites, and I do not believe they would have survived with conventional treatment alone. The treatment I detail below is for dogs, however I’ve also listed what I did for snake bit cats.
What To Do When Your Dog Gets Snake Bit
A few years ago, my border collie got bit in the front leg while we were horseback, about to pen cattle. It was just me and my husband, and we were short handed. About a 1/2 mile from the house my dog started limping badly. I got off and saw a massive bite. This was a BIG snakebite in a bad area, high on the foreleg. Dogs rarely survive a bad bite to the leg. My dog barely made it back to the house. I had to carry her to last stretch, and she weights about 45 lbs.
Rattlesnake Bite Remedy
The life-saving remedy I used is a combination of conventional, and natural medicine. This combination compliments each other amazingly well. Immediately, I gave my dog 3 Benadryl pills, 9cc dexamethasone, and 5cc penicillin. The next step is the key to preventing tissue necrosis. If you’ve ever been around an animal that’s been bit by a rattler, then you know they smell like road kill due to the dying, rotting tissue. That’s is what is so amazing about the next step. You will need the following to make a poultice which will be packed on the area, and bandaged: bacon grease, corn meal, bloodroot tincture and black cohosh tincture (the tinctures can be purchased at many health food stores, or in the link below). Mix those ingredients into a paste and pack on area then bandage. The bandage should NOT be tight. This is an old Native American Indian snakebite remedy. If you life out in rough country where there are lots of poisonous snakes, these tinctures are beneficial to have on hand. The poultice keeps the the tissue from rotting, however it is likely in many cases, that there will be a lot of tissue damage and necrosis. In addition to the bloodroot black cohosh poultice, ichthammol ointment is used to effectively draw pain, and keep the area clean. It is effective in treating bacterial infection. Once the area begins to bust open, pack with ichthammol ointment. This combination will draw out the poison, and heal the tissue. When I used the bloodroot/black cohosh poultice, and then the ichthammol, the tissue had no stench like a normal rattlesnake bite. The wound stayed clean and healed about 4 times faster than the other bites I’ve treated. Trust me, I’ve treated five serious snakes bites, and many non-life threatening snake bites on horses and other livestock. I know what I’m talking about when it comes to treating a rattlesnake bite.
I’m not suggesting that you don’t seek immediate veterinary treatment for your animal. In fact, I highly recommend you seek immediate veterinary care for something as serious as a rattlesnake bite. I offer this remedy only as an alternative. There are many people in rural locations who simply cannot take every animal on their farm or ranch to the vet. For us, and our our location, seeking a vet is not feasible, nor do I think the outcome would have been as good. My animals barely have a scar, and do not have any lingering effects.
Since we have so many rattlesnakes I always stock bloodroot and black cohosh tincture. Before I knew about the poultice, my border collie was bit in the throat. That bite was the slowest healing off the rattler bites I’ve treated. She smelled like a dead animal.
I have dealt with a total of twelve rattlesnake bites on dogs and cats the past eight years. We lost one pup to tetanus about six weeks after he survived a mild snakebite to the head. Normally, the head is the safest place for a dog to get bit.
While your dog is recovering, feed it bacon grease and raw eggs. This is an old timer remedy, I’ve done it, not sure what it does but it does seem to help.
Dexamethasone needs to be tapered down. After I gave my dog an initial does of 9cc ( that’s a stout dose, and she’s a big dog), I tapered to 4-1/2 cc the next morning, and 4-1/2 cc that evening. The day after that, I gave her 4-1/2, then stopped. It’s best to consult your veterinarian about dosage of a steroid such as Dex. Since my border collies wasn’t having any swelling around her face, I did not continue with the Benadryl. If your dog is bit on the face, continue giving benadryl for 2-3 days until the swelling no longer impairs breathing.
Cats are more resilient to rattlesnake bites than dogs. Cats that are bit on the body vs. leg have a tougher recovery, but both cats shown on this post fully recovered. They were treated with penicillin, the poultice and ichthammol. The cats were not given dex or benydryl. They were also given raw eggs to stimulate their appetite. Raw eggs were the only thing either cat would eat for about a week.
Rattlesnake bites are very nasty. I don’t know how else to put it. The venom causes necrosis, and that’s why penicillin is key. Penicillin is very effective with this type of bacterial invasion. Dex deals with the swelling, and the benadryl keeps them breathing. Benadrly is critical if they get bit in the face. The Native American bloodroot/black cohosh poultice prevents rotting. And finally, a antitoxin tetanus vaccine is critical! Snakes carry tetanus. That was a mistake I made when treating a puppy a few years back. Our small animal vet said the antitoxin tetanus wasn’t necessary, and the pup died of lock jaw! I did not trust my instinct, and did not give the vaccine. The vaccine is readily available at feed, and farm/ranch stores. Do not overlook it!
Buy Ichthammol, Bloodroot & Black Cohosh Tincture
Before & After Photos Of Snakebite
Ginger, our former barn cat has fully recovered from two serious snake bites. She has no fear of snakes and will try to kill them, but these snakes were too much for her to handle. She is a full-time house cat now. Diapers make excellent bandages. The ichthammol is messy, but worth the outcome. All that was used on her was penicillin, Ichthammol and the Indian remedy mentioned above. The wound stayed nice and clean. Both cats made a full recovery with barely any scar. Ginger was bitten twice within six months.