Rattlesnake Preventative Measures

Our recent heat wave in March, lured many a Rattlesnake from deep slumber, so until the cooler days of fall, those of us with dogs and horses need to be especially vigilant when hiking, and within the boundaries of our own property.

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Snake bites occur in equal numbers on hiking trails and in back yards. With their natural curiosity, and sometimes prey drive, our canine companions are twenty times more likely to be bitten by a venomous snake, than we are. About eighty percent of bites occur around the muzzle.

Simple preventative measures should include inspecting your property, particularly rocky areas and wood piles. Rattlesnakes could be hiding anywhere, around, and under the house, and even curled up in a potted plant ! Just be extra aware of their ability to camouflage themselves.This year, the welcome rain has created a denser carpet of greenery and a profusion of gophers, the favored menu item for snakes. Where there are gopher holes, snakes could be lurking. Gopher holes can also offer passageway underneath ‘snake fencing’.Clearing all non native grasses and overgrown vegetation is a good start. For those who love to hike, staying on designated trails is a must, and avoid night hikes, or rides. Keep your dogs leashed and your eyes on the trail ahead. If your horse shows hesitation or acts nervously, give him the benefit of the doubt, and use strong lower leg wraps for added protection.

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Rattlesnakes, like most wild creatures, are not looking for an encounter, and will usually slither off to safety on feeling the vibration of approaching feet and paws. The heavy vibration made by horses makes them a little less prone, but not immune to bites. As with dogs, horses are most often bitten on the head, especially the nose. For either animal, head and torso bites are the most severe because the venom can more easily enter the bloodstream. Bites on the lower legs, primarily consisting of bone and tendon, are less dangerous.

Obviously if you encounter a snake on a trail, unless there is ample room to safely move past them, retreat. A mature snake will not attack unless provoked or threatened. Juvenile snakes are less predictable, and more likely to strike repeatedly.

Regardless of how cautious and responsible you are, there is still always a risk. An antivenin inoculation is not in itself a preventative measure, but helps your animal develop anti-bodies which in turn help neutralize and slow the immediate effects of a bite. It reduces risk of permanent injury and gives you more time to get to the nearest vet, for full treatment, before greater damage is done, especially to the organs. The purpose of a snake’s venom is to paralyze, and thus immobilize it’s victim, commonly rodents and birds, for easier ingestion. Fortunately, 98% of dogs survive if the right protocol is taken.

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Unlike allergies or bee stings, swelling from a snake bite will be localized

Most veterinarian’s recommend two concurrent vaccines, a month apart initially, followed by an annual booster, administered at the onset of Spring weather, to maximize
the potency of the serum, which is six months. Treatment for a bite is costly, so preventative measures, of any kind, are definitely preferable. One vial of antivenin serum can be as much as $800, and several vials may be needed, in addition to supportive care treatment, such as intravenous fluids, antibiotics, antihistamines, and possibly blood transfusions. Variables include the size and age of the dog, the bite area and the amount of venom released.

Alternatively, if you are opposed to the toxicity of vaccines, you may want to spend some time researching homeopathic remedies, and reading testimonials from people who have successfully used a combination of natural remedies to help control the effects of a bite in an emergency situation, or for aftercare ( but not as a substitution for a vet visit, unless you are an experienced practitioner ) These may include, Lachesis, Hypericum, Ledum, Cedron, Echinacea and MSM.

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If your companion animal does fall victim to a venomous snake bite, as with any emergency situation, staying calm is crucial, as is preparedness, whether they have been vaccinated or not:

Check with your primary vet to ensure they carry the antivenin for treating a bite.

Locate a 24 hour emergency clinic close to you, or where you hike, or camp.

Carry a pre-determined dosage of an antihistamine such as Benedril, or a homeopathic treatment kit, especially if you plan to be in a remote area.

If possible, carry your dog ( extra measures might include keeping a stretcher of some sort in your car, or home for larger, heavy dogs ) Do not allow your animal to run or exert themselves in anyway. The higher the heart rate, the faster the venom circulates through the blood stream. Try to position your dog so the bite is below heart level.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners advises riders to carry two 6” pieces of garden hose, to be lubricated, inserted and taped into the horse’s nostrils, in the event that a head bite creates breathing problems, until a vet can treat the swelling.

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A more pro-active approach, is a Rattlesnake aversion class. The basic premise is to train the dog to completely avoid confrontation. An electric stimulus collar emits a very low voltage charge, when the dog is drawn toward the smell, movement or sound of the snake. Although some may have reservations about subjecting their dogs to a form of shock training, the process is safe and efficient, deterring all but the most stubborn canine from venturing anywhere near a Rattler. Sometimes effectiveness can be lost over time and further training is needed. Obviously the age and health of your dog needs to be factored in.The closest resource for Topanga is the Mountain Restoration Trust, which holds monthly clinics in Calabasas. See below for more resources and links. Enjoy this beautiful Spring weather and be safe!

Resources for Local Rattlesnake Vaccinations & Aversion Classes

Rattlesnake Vaccines range from $25-45
Aversion Classes range from $70-125

Animal Clinic of Topanga http://www.animalclinictopanga.com ( Vaccine Clinic 2nd Wednesday of every month )
Malibu Coast Animal Hospital http://www.malibuvets.com/services
Malibu Feed Bin ( Vaccine Clinic on the 1st Saturday of every month 3:30-5pm )
Calabasas Veterinary Center http://www.calabasasvetcenter.com ( Vaccine clinic every Saturday 1:30-3pm )
Capri Plaza Pet Clinic, Tarzana http://www.capriplazapetclinic.com/services.html

Rattlesnake Aversion Training: http://www.mountainstrust.org/recreation
http://www.rattlesnakeaversion.com
http://www.snakesafedog.com/upcoming-dates.html

24 Hour Emergency Clinics

Access Animal Hospital, Woodland Hills http://accessanimalhospitals.com
ASEC, West Los Angeles http://www.asecvets.com

Homeopathic Treatment http://www.holisticvetclinic.net/pages/rattlesnake_bite_kit
Homeopathic Kits http://www.naturalpaws.com.au/homeopathics-herbal-remedies-emergency-snake-bite-product-465.html

Lucy

Lucy is a great dog!!!

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She is an eight year old Lab that has been with the same couple since she was a puppy. Unfortunately, they claim she ‘growled at their daughter’ and will take her to the shelter if a home cannot be found ASAP.

 

Adopt a Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She is healthy and house trained and plays well with other dogs. Santa Monica area.

 

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Please contact us now if you are interested in adopting Lucy.

Jafar

Looks can be deceiving and sweet, lovable JAFAR is proof !!

 

This gentle giant is a 100lbs of pure love.

 

Jafar

 

After being released from the kennel which has been his home for over 2 years, all he wanted to do was roll on the grass and enjoy some belly rubs, play with other dogs and show us that he knows all his commands !!

 

 

 

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What a beautiful soul he is. Lets do right by this special 4 year old boy and find him a fantastic home. The trainer says he is an ambassador for the breed !!

 

 

 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation so we can start moving more dogs from the same kennel where Jafar was !!!

Click here to make a donation using Paypal

or mail to :

creatureKIND
P.O Box 112
TOPANGA, CA 90290

View Our Adoptable Dogs and Kittens

SWEET SIBLINGS LOOKING FOR A HOME TOGETHER

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A brother & sister who love each other and never fight ! Two is always better than one when it comes to kittens.

Double the love and affection, on top of never ending entertainment watching them play. Besides………how could we possibly separate them ! The added bonus is that they are absolutely beautiful !! They both have ‘Leopard Tabby’ markings, the female is primarily white with circles of leopard tabby – very unusual ! At 5mnths old they are a perfect age to easily adjust into a new home. Fully vetted and healthy. Please fill out an application or contact us if interested in meeting them at their foster home. Our main concern is finding them a forever home so the adoption donation will be minimal.

Please contact us now if you are interested in adopting these kittens.

Django

Adopt Jango

If you love big dogs you will love this guy !! Django is an 85lb Mutt that we think is an Anatolian Shepherd x.

Whatever the mix he is an amazing dog with a great disposition who gets along with other dogs and loves people. Django has been fully trained and is vetted and house broken. For more photos and video of this handsome 3-yr-old, or to arrange a meet & greet, please contact us at creaturekind@verizon.net. Django is currently in a foster home in Malibu, and has been around all kinds of animals since he was a puppy, including horses, pigs and chickens !

Please contact us now if you are interested in adopting JANGO.

Bart

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Bart is simply one of the best dogs we have ever met!

He has a wonderful disposition and is fully trained. At 2 years old and weighing 42lbs, he is the perfect age & weight and with the loving nature he has, he is so ready to bond with someone as special as he is.

If you are someone who enjoys running or hiking and have been looking for that perfect companion to take everywhere with you, or just hang out with, Bart is your man! He has never met a person or a dog he does not like. Playful and full of fun, this is a dog that will be a loyal and loving friend for life.

Please contact us if you are interested in fostering or adopting Bart.

Click here to view our adoptableDOGS

Keep Your Dog Safe This Independence Day

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Share these eight tips for enjoying the Fourth of July with your dog.

  • Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays.If possible, stay with the animal during the majority of the fireworks. They often react more intensely to loud sounds and flashes of lights when humans are not around.
  • Keep your pet indoors! Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. In their fear, pets who normally wouldn’t leave the yard may escape and become lost, or become entangled in their chain, risking injury or death.
  • Do not leave your pet in the car. With only hot air to breathe inside a car, your pet can suffer serious health effects-even death-in a few short minutes. Partially opened windows do notprovide sufficient air, but they do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stole
  • If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4th for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety he or she will experience during fireworks displays.
  • Always keep proper identification securely fastened to a dog’s collars in case it gets out. Consider talking to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip. Make sure your veterinary hospital and animal shelter have your correct contact information in their database.
  • Keep them away from the front and back doors. They may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others or cause them to dart out the door and become lost.
  • Create a special area or “den” in your home where dogs can feel safe. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge.
  • Some dogs become destructive when frightened. If you don’t use a crate, be sure to remove items from the room that they could destroy or would hurt them if chewed.
  • Keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes.
  • Turn on a TV or radio at normal volume to distract them from loud noises.
  • Consider hiring a pet sitter to stay with the animal while you are away from home.

Lovable Labs for Adoption

Labs

Rocko & Shadow were the recent victims of a divorce and we are hoping to find them a home together as they have been together since they were puppies.

They are everything you want a Labrador to be – sweet, friendly, goofy one year-old boys who grew up with young children and love other dogs. House & leash trained and looking for a former home. If interested please fill out an application.

Application to ADOPT a DOG