Last week a 28 year old man needed 13 viles of anti-venom over the span of two and a half days to survive an encounter with a snake in a grocery store parking lot. His story has sparked heightened awareness of how to handle this type of attack.
Luis Pellicia of the LMA warns, "Do not touch the wound, do not cotton the wound, do not try to suck on the wound as it will make the venomation worse."
Also those helping the victim need to be weary of the snake. "When they bite they like to stay 20-30 feet around their victims so when someone comes to help the person who has been bitten, they have to be extremely careful."
Identifying the animal is crutial to diagnosing how to treat the bite. The ability to classify the bite may be the step that saves a victiim's life as there are only two anti-venoms readily available at most hospitals.
Sandra Leyendecker, a veterinarian at Critter Care said, "Oh yes, both cats and dogs have been brought into the center for rattlesnake bites." A vaccination is offered for $25 to pets who are at high risk, namely those who live in newly constructed subdivisions or the countryside. But just like humans each snake bite case is different. "The likelyhood of it being deadly depends on the location of the bite. Certainly if your dog is bit near the jugular or the heart area, they are at high risk."
The Lamar Bruni Vergara Environmental Center values research on wildlife native to the state. They too have seen the trend. Tom Miller explains, "In central Texas they are also experiencing above average snake bites in their area. So they are out there." But Miller says Texans are fortunate to have the greatest variety of snakes in the nation. "We're lucky. They are very interesting animals. A lot of people absolutely love them. There aren't many people in between. There are people who really love snakes and people who don't want to see any kind of snake."