PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital has already treated a dog and a horse bitten by rattlesnakes this season.
A horse was bitten by a rattlesnake last weekend on the inside of the left rear leg slightly above the hoof. The bite occurred on a trail ride in the Charley Creek drainage of Asotin County, Wash. The horse was treated and sent home, as was the dog.
The Western rattlesnake, Croatus viridis, is common in much of Eastern Washingon. They are commonly spotted near their den areas, which are generally in rock crevices exposed to sunshine. They are most often seen at night and dusk during the spring and fall when moving to and from hibernation sites.
Reports made to WSU's veterinary hospital indicate there are a lot of snakes out this year, perhaps more than in most years. This could be due to the spring weather being longer, cooler, and wetter than normal.
These conditions shorten the overall season in which snakes can feed and breed before the fall and winter return. When warm weather does occur, snakes are likely to be more active.
If you see a snake, keep pets and horses away until it moves away. If you witness a bite, keep the animal calm, do nothing to the wound except cover it, and contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.
To learn more about snakebite in horses and pets, visit the following:
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