Tiny rattlesnake in Vernon packs a punch; prompts a warning | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tiny rattlesnake in Vernon packs a punch; prompts a warning

"A baby rattler was hiding under the bench, so when the dogs jumped down the rattler struck out. Bentley came to Fairfield and received antivenin, and stayed with us overnight for fluids and observation, and now he’s home and happy with his family."
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Fairfield animal clinic
June 13, 2021 - 12:46 PM

Fairfield Animal Clinic posted a cute puppy picture this weekend with an important public warning.

"Bentley (right) was out on a hike with his friends in Kal Park in Vernon this week, and stopped for a rest and a photo op," reads the post. 

"A baby rattler was hiding under the bench, so when the dogs jumped down the rattler struck out. Bentley came to Fairfield and received antivenin, and stayed with us overnight for fluids and observation, and now he’s home and happy with his family."

It could have ended much differently, even with a baby rattler, which prompted them to remind the public if you see a rattler, back away slowly and give them a wide berth.

"If your dog is bitten, carry small dogs and calmly walk larger dogs to the car and get to your veterinarian as soon as possible. With treatment, our furry friends recover just fine," reads the post.

Fairfield Animal Hospital in Kelowna is one of only two pet clinics in the Thompson-Okanagan to carry antivenom.

The treatment costs $800 without pet insurance, but they sell the treatment nearly at cost because when there's a bite, it's essential.

READ MORE: The 7 snakes of the Thompson Okanagan

Like humans, if your animal is bit by a rattlesnake, it's advised to seek treatment within 24 hours. However, getting antivenom as close to the time of bite as possible is crucial to minimize the chances of permanent damage to the affected area.

The treatment involves not just a bag of antivenom fluid, but constant monitoring to manage pain and address possible allergic reactions. Often it can be a 24-hour stay at the animal hospital.

The Western rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in the Thompson Okanagan and they rarely bite. They grow to about one metre long and up to five centimetres in width. The snakes puff themselves up in fear so may appear bigger than they actually are. The rattle is a warning device and striking or biting is the last resort of a rattlesnake, Larsen said.

The snakes eat small mammals, birds, rats, mice, red squirrels and even baby marmots. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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