Venomous Snakes and your Dog

When the weather warms up, so do the snakes in our area. Dogs by nature are curious and territorial, thus when they encounter a wiggly intruder in their back yard, their first instinct is to sniff the snake and if that snake turns out to be one of the venomous snakes, the encounter may end with a painful bite on his nose.

Most snakes prefer to avoid a confrontation and will slither away when left alone, but if startled or harassed by your barking dog, they will strike to defend itself. The muzzle and paws are the most common areas that I find snake bites. In the last week alone, we have one bite on the nose, my own dog got bit on his toe and another dog played with the snake and got several bites on his tongue.

Fortunately, most of the snake bites in our area are from copperheads which can inflict a painful bite with a lot of swelling and local tissue destruction, but seldom results in the death of your pet. Emergency treatment given by your veterinarian will be determined by the type of snake that bit your pet and the type of reaction your pet is having to the venom. Antivenin is available for pets, but it is expensive and you have to know which snake bit your pet.

A good on-line source to identify snakes can be found at

For dogs traveling to areas filled with rattlesnakes, you may consider vaccinating them with the Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccine. Rattlesnake bites are more deadly than copperheads and the vaccine may help to lessen the severity of the bite reaction. The vaccine may also help reduce the copperhead reactions but has no effect against the cottonmouth or coral snake venom.

Venomous Snakes in the Houston Area




Cottonmouth (water moccasin)

Diamondback Rattlesnake

Diamondback Rattlesnake

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

Tips to prevent snake encounters:

  • Hike only on open paths and keep dog on leash at all times.
  • Keep your dog from exploring holes or under logs where snakes may hide.
  • Clear away brush and debris from around your house.
  • Keep your yard mowed short.
  • Teach your dog the “leave it” command so if you see a snake, he will respond by returning to you, rather than chasing the snake.

If your dog does encounter a snake and is bitten, or your dog comes in from playing outside and his face begins to swell, take him to your veterinarian or emergency clinic so they can initiate treatment. Do not attempt to catch the snake, a photo with your smart phone will help in identifying the snake. We do not want you to end up in the ER for another snakebite.


Remember that every snake in your yard is not venomous, but can be helpful in controlling mice and rats in your yard. So don’t make a vendetta against all snakes. Hog-nosed snakes are common in the area and can raise up like a cobra and strike at you but they are not toxic to humans or pets.

Diamond Pet Food Recalled Due to Salmonella

Diamond Pet Foods of Meta, Mo., recalled more dog food produced at its Gaston, S.C., plant after another bag of food tested positive for salmonella.

The latest recall involves one production run and four production codes of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food, as follows:

Product Name

Bag Size

Production Code

Best By Date

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food

35 lb.



Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food

6 lb.




The food was distributed in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia, where the food may have been further distributed to other states through pet food channels. Diamond said it is working directly with distributors and retailers that carry the recalled food to remove it from the supply chain.

The company advised consumers who purchased the recalled food to discard it immediately.

This follows the April 6 recall of several lots of Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice dry dog food due to salmonella concerns. Diamond halted production at the Gaston plant two days later.

Pets infected with salmonella may have decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, pets may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. The company advised owners whose pets that have consumed the recalled food and have any of the preceding symptoms to contact their veterinarian.

People handling dry pet food can also become infected with salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to the product, according to Diamond.

Source:Veterinary Practice News: See Full Story

Virbac Recalls One Lot of Iverhart Max

See full Story

Virbac Animal Health voluntarily recalled one lot of its canine heartworm and internal parasite preventive Iverhart Max Chewable Tablets (ivermectin, pyrantel pamoate, praziquantel) because the ivermectin failed to meet the company’s stability specifications.

Some dogs dosed with tablets from the affected lot (#110482 for large dogs, 50.1 to 100 lbs.) may not be protected against heartworm disease, the company said.


Virbac is recalling one lot of its canine heartworm preventative Iverhart Max Chewable Tablets.

The lot number is stamped on the side lid or flap of the product’s box in a white text field and on the blister foil of the individual doses.

Virbac, of Fort Worth, Texas, sent letters to veterinary distributors instructing them to cease distribution of the affected lot and to advise veterinary clinics in receipt of the recalled product to cease dispensing it.

The other active ingredients in Iverhart were not affected, the company said, meaning the tablets should provide protection against other internal parasites. Virbac tested other lots of Iverhart and confirmed only one lot was affected.

No heartworm-related adverse events or illnesses had been reported to Virbac as of late March. If veterinarians see a potentially affected dog, they should contact Virbac Technical Services at 1-800-338-3659 x3052) to discuss testing procedures. If a dog taking the product is infected with heartworms, its treatment will be covered under the Iverhart product satisfaction guarantee, the company said.

Source: Veterinary Practice News