Advice from local veterinarians to keep your pets safe and happy.

This week, advice from
Dr. Kym Mitchell

As spring begins people everywhere seem to be outside taking advantage of the beautiful weather. However, it’s important to note that we aren’t the only ones venturing out to enjoy the warm, spring sun. April through October is considered rattlesnake season in Southern California, and pet owners need to be especially cautious, as these bites can be life threatening to our animals.
Dogs tend to encounter rattlesnakes while hiking, or simply enjoying their backyards, and cats are often struck while roaming the neighborhoods. Most often dogs are bitten on the muzzle while giving a curious sniff; similarly, cats receive bites on their front legs, as they attempt to bat at the snake. Signs that your pet may have been bitten include extreme pain, as well as bruising and swelling at the injection site. Sometimes you can even see two bleeding puncture wounds, which confirms that your pet has been bitten.
It’s imperative to get your pet to a veterinary hospital as fast as possible if you suspect a rattlesnake bite. Treatment for rattlesnake bites include anti-venom, antibiotics to help prevent a massive infection in the wound, and IV fluids to help support the body as it works to remove the venom.
Rattlesnake vaccines are available for dogs that provide them with antibodies against the snake’s venom, which helps prolong the time you have to get treatment at a veterinary hospital.

Dr. Kym Mitchell is owner of the newly opened Montrose Pet Hospital, 2444 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose. (818) 249-2273,