AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Vets across the Panhandle are reporting an increasing number of dogs bitten by rattlesnakes.
There are a range of factors that determine the severity of a snake bite. The size of the victim, where they were bitten, and if the snake actually injected any venom.
Veterinarians, especially in rural areas, said they have already treated more than a dozen snake bites in the past two weeks and every one of those cases were considered extremely serious.
This year, the number of snakes is expected to be much higher than usual because of a combination of weather conditions.
"Rattlesnakes are predators and predator populations follow prey populations," said Merten Pearson with Noah's Ark Pet Hospital. "We've had some good rain the past couple years allowing the prey population to rise, and the predators are starting to follow."
If a dog is bitten by a snake, and the snake injected venom, there will be severe swelling around the bite. This swelling is not only painful but can become deadly if it is around the face or neck because it can cut off the ability to breathe.
Regardless of where your pet is bitten, it is best to seek medical attention so they can be given anti-venom and any other antibiotics as soon as possible.
"It's amazing how effective anti-venom is at stopping the swelling, relieving the pain, and most importantly save the dog's life," said Dr. Pearson.
There is a vaccination that you can give your dog which is intended to slow the effects of a snake bite. However, veterinarians are divided over its effectiveness. Consult your vet if you are interested in getting your pet vaccinated against rattlesnake venom.