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Old 08-14-2010, 11:52 AM
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Will a rattlesnake bite a blackbear and if they will what happens to the bear?
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Old 08-14-2010, 02:41 PM
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I assume anyone is fair game for a rattler...same as the rest of us...swell up, etc...

the bigger the mammal the less affect venom should have on it.

ie anti-venom is developed by injecting it into horses...and extracting the anti bodies.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:36 PM
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Can't say this with any intelligence but I assume it would take a really big snake to have fangs big enough to get through all their hair and then hide to make an effective strike.
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:52 PM
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It is rare for a snake to bite a larger animal. They have to feel threatened before they would risk it. That is why dogs get bit, they attack the snake. If a snake has the opportunity to get away from a bigger animal, they will.

If they did bite a bear, it would depend on a lot of things, size of bear, amount of venom injected, and where the bite occurred. The absolute best place to be bit is on the nose/face. Not much muscle, and no big blood vessels. The venom causes swelling almost immediately, which limits it spread.

So if a snake did bite a bear on the nose/face, it would have a decent chance. If it bit it in a leg muscle, the bear could be killed. Of couse, the bigger the bear, the better its chances would be.

As a veterinarian, I have treated many snakebites. I have never lost a dog that was bitten on the face, but if bit elsewhere in a muscle, I have lost some of those. Antivenom helps, but due to availablity issues and cost, most people can't afford to use it. An average dog might take 2-4 vials at $300+ each.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:41 PM
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You, or the bear would have to go out of your way, to get a rattler to bite you. You, or the bear would have to almost step right on top of it. Rattlers don't look for trouble like cotton mouths do. I hate cotton mouths and copper heads. Cotton mouths look for trouble. Copper heads lay and wait.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:14 PM
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I had a cow bit on the nose by a rattler. She was sick for a long time and peeled like a sunburn! It took a year for her hair to grow back
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:46 PM
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As a veterinarian, I have treated many snakebites. I have never lost a dog that was bitten on the face, but if bit elsewhere in a muscle, I have lost some of those. Antivenom helps, but due to availablity issues and cost, most people can't afford to use it. An average dog might take 2-4 vials at $300+ each.

From what I've heard, vets are also a little reluctant to use antivenin because the allergic reaction can be worse than the initial problem. Most reasonably sized animals (including humans) are likely to pull through without help, if it isn't a rattlesnake subspecies that has picked up the neurotoxin.

I'd guess a bear is unlikely to die from a snakebite, unless he starves. A bear is also probably less likely to get bitten in the first place...they actually pay attention.
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Old 08-15-2010, 05:02 AM
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[QUOTE=
From what I've heard, vets are also a little reluctant to use antivenin because the allergic reaction can be worse than the initial problem. Most reasonably sized animals (including humans) are likely to pull through without help, if it isn't a rattlesnake subspecies that has picked up the neurotoxin.
.[/QUOTE]

There is a relatively high reaction rate to antivenom. Many times that is due to the animal it was produced in. In other words, it is produced by injecting either horses or sheep to produce antibodies (antivenom), but they can't get all the sheep/horse impurities out. Even so, the reaction rate is not THAT high, so I have no qualms of using antivenom if the dogs life is really in danger. There are drugs to counteract most reactions

But for a dog who is bitten on the head, the reaction rate is probably higher than the risk to the dog, so I don't recommend using it. For the others, I think the real issue is cost. If it were $50 to treat a dog with antivenom, you would see its use skyrocket.

And, yes, most dogs bitten on the face are likely to pull through, but I would always recomend treatment. The one dog I have seen die bitten in the face was NOT brought in for treatment because he was a big dog and the owner heard that he would be fine. That dog got over the venom part of it, but died from a bacterial infection that spread from the bite area.

As an interesting sidenote, you can now produce your dogs own antivenom the same way the get it from sheep/horses by vaccinating the dog for snakebite. Two intitial vaccines and then boosters 1-2 times a year depending on exposure is required. I have used it in probably 400 dogs so far. Seems to be safe as any vaccine. Real question is: does it work?

I can see no reason why you would be able to create the antivenom in a sheep/horse and not the dog, so that makes sense. The company that makes it claims it lasts for 6-9 months, thus why some dogs are vaccinated twice yearly. Vaccinating a dog essentially keeps a store of antivenom inside the dog to be used if needed. I have had two dogs bit on the face that were vaccinated. Normally, the swelling lasts at least 4-6 days and some of the tissue around the bite dies and sloughs off. Both of these dogs seem to have less swelling which was gone within two days and no sloughing of tissue occurred. I have my own dog vaccinated.
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