Ask the Vet: Snakebite Treatment
The Question: Is it safe to give an egg and Benadryl to a pet bitten by a venomous snake? -Sally Blevins Roberson
A bite from a venomous snake should be taken very seriously. Dogs are often bitten by young snakes when they poke their noses around a nest. Babies release all their venom per bite making them even more dangerous than their adult counterparts.
Giving your dog Diphenhydramine (generic active ingredient of Benadryl) at 1mg per pound while in transit to your closest veterinarian can only serve to help but in no way should it be considered a treatment. In most cases your dog will need to be treated with anti-venon to prevent severe side effects of envenomation as well as supportive care. If you are able to identify the snake for your veterinarian all the better.
The risk of not seeking medical help immediately is far too great. In all venomous snake bites, time is of the essence. Here in Charleston we have several common snakes that can be lethal to dogs. These include the cotton mouth, copperhead,coral snake and of course the rattlesnake.
Jacqueline Ann Brewer, DVM - Dr. Brewer graduated from Emory University and received her doctorate from Ross University in 1999. She practiced and operated clinics in New York, California, and Florida before moving to Charleston in 2009. She has worked as a relief veterinarian for the last two years at various clinics in the Tri-County area and is thrilled to be starting her own practice here on James Island.
See response by Dr. Brewer on Lowcountry Dog Magazine