As summer temperatures continue to rise, North Carolina is beginning to see more snakes creep out of their holes. For people who own dogs, it can be even more frightening.
Dr. Jeff Nunez, chief of emergency services at Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital in Durham, said the summer months always bring in more cases of snake bites, particularly in dogs.
"This is the time of year we start to see more snake bites," he said. "It's warm and the snakes are all moving around."
Nunez said the central part of the state experiences the most venomous bites.
"In general, Wake and Orange County are considered the state's top counties for venomous snake bites due to a large number of copperheads in the area," he said.
If you let your dog play outside this summer and it gets bit, here's how to handle it:
- Don't kill the snake. Many people tend to get bitten when they try to kill the snake. Instead, try to take a picture of it or keep a mental image of it so the veterinarian can properly identify it and determine if the bite was venomous
- Take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible
- In the future, keep a close eye on your dog, especially when it's around bushes or wood piles
During the hot summer months, Nunez says he gets 3-5 dog snake bite cases each day.
At the vet, dogs who have suffered a snake bite are either hospitalized and monitored for 12 hours, or they are given some immediate treatment, including antibiotics, and sent home.
After a dog is sent home, it's advisable to keep a close eye on it to make sure it's eating, drinking and not acting out of the ordinary.