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Snake Bit--Again

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  • Snake Bit--Again

    So, yesterday around 10 am, the fog had broken up & the sun was shining and the flies were waking up and it was time to get the horses dressed w/their fly masks. All the horses were just fine. Around 2 pm, I went out to clean & refill a water tub. Sedona, the TWH mare, parked herself behind me and demanded attention. I turned around and did a double take; I knew what I was seeing but just could not believe it. Immediately behind the corner of her mouth was a big, rubbed raw wound with swelling. The swelling was hard as a rock. The wound had two points of origin. I was looking at a rattlesnake bite.
    The wacked part of it? This same horse got bit in the same place 2 years ago.
    I looked at her; "Geez mare, didn't you learn from the first snake encounter?!" "You have now proven that my cats are smarter then you." (cat vs. snake is a story for another time)
    I trekked down to the tack room and got Betadine solution, gauze, providine ointment and horse cookies. Don't need a halter; as long as I have cookies or carrot slices, she stands for all necessary treatment just fine. Back up the hill to sort her out from the other 2 horses so they don't chase her off for the cookies. Yep, there are indeed 2 points of main damage, one of them a nice deep pit of already dead flesh. As I am cleaning off the smeared blood, I note that it looks like she has another set of fang marks on her chin. I call over Senior Handyman and he makes the same observation.
    I put in an emergency call to my vet who returns my call promptly and we discuss what to do. Turns out he is getting ready to leave on vacation and he took my call because he recognized my phone number. The word is to start her on Bute or Banamine (I chose bute because it is cheaper) and antibiotics. He knows I already know about cleaning it for as long as it takes to heal and what to watch for that may need a vet visit.
    When I go to give her the bute, the swelling has increased but continues to be very localized around the corner of her mouth. Same as last time, her head does not swell up. The vet said two years ago that some horses seem to contain the venom near the injection site while others spread it and have more problems.
    Three hours later, the swelling has either stopped or gotten so slow that I can't see the increase and she has stopped rubbing it. I will attribute those to the bute but have no proof of it being so. She is happy to eat dinner and her soaked hay pellets with oats and SMZ.
    This morning the swelling has stabilized and she has refrained from further rubbing. She enjoys the cleaning w/betadine, with cookies. She enjoys getting the SMZ, with soaked feed. But she hates the syringe of bute. Oh well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad!
    If this is like before, we are in for a lot of tissue sloughing as the venom kills flesh further from the injection site which means lots of cleaning to keep the necrotic tissue from causing infection and to keep the fly eggs out. The location prohibits any true cleanliness and of course wrapping/covering. The best I can do is to cannibalize a piece of mesh off an old fly mask and use a diaper pin to pin it to her mask to hang down over the side of her mouth. It does keep off a surprising number of flies. Last time, which had less swelling and a smaller initial wound, it took a month of daily cleaning and another month of sporadic cleaning to fully heal.
    Really, mare, AGAIN?!
    There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.


  • #2
    oh man!

    You need a bigger supply of cookies...

    (maybe she figured she deserved more treats...)


    • #3
      I used this


      one summer when my horse had an open wound on her face. The vet recommended it and I bought it at Tractor Supply. It worked great to keep the flies from laying eggs in the wound.


      • Original Poster

        Reply to first 2

        "...more treats..." HA HA!! I thought that too. I asked her if she felt I had not been giving her enough attention of late.

        The screw worm product--the big problem is that this is at the corner of her mouth so anything put on it does not stay for long and can end up inside her mouth. Yesterday's Proviodine only lasted a few minutes before it ended up on her leg. But I'll keep that product in mind for any future mishaps (which had better NOT happen!)
        There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.



        • #5
          you are effing kidding me... thats crazy

          whats the kitty vs snake story!?!? and does it have an ok ending?

          rattlesnake bite... wow, i'm sheltered way up north here
          Carol and Princess Dewi



          • #6
            First, sorry for your misfortune, and your poor mare's. Ouch.

            Second, it sounds like you have the situation well in hand and you know what to do. However, should you want any advice or info about snakes/ snakebites, feel free to pm me. Venomous snakes and venom are what I do for a living.


            • #7
              Wow, jingles for you and the mare, for all you have to do to help her heal. That is unbelievable that it would happen to the same horse!
              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


              • #8
                Poor Sedona! I would hope that none of your Morgans would be that dumb...

                (I've met the horse in question, and she's a pretty girl, but, um, side by side with the Morgans, you can tell who is the honor student and who is the airhead...)
                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                • #9
                  The Cashel long nose fly mask


                  Poor silly horse ... & you for having to go through this again


                  • #10
                    I do not envy any of you who live in rattlesnake country.


                    • #11
                      I hope this is ok to ask but why isn't the horse dead? I ask this as I'm from Australia and horses often die from snake bites here.


                      • Original Poster

                        Replies to--

                        doccer--the cats vs snake did have an ok ending for all concerned. I will write about that next week on my www.sagebeasties.blogspot.com site.
                        jumpsnake--thanks for your offer. This morning the swelling had stopped increasing but the wound, as expected, is expanding. Just like before, she acts as if nothing is wrong. I'm the one who gets all the extra work out of this!
                        quietann--She is not so much an airhead as that she is such a worrier that it gets in the way of productive thinking. She appears dull and dumb, but is not either. It takes a long time to get progress w/her. At least she is a pretty color!
                        alto--she is wearing a Cashell Long Nose but she has the long TWH head and the bite is down to the side of her muzzle, immediately at the corner of her mouth. I love the Cashell Long w/ears masks; all my horses have them.
                        Lolita1--rattlesnake bites rarely kill horses. Will kill dogs and cats easily. I think the size difference is the important thing here. What will kill the horse is when their head swells up and cuts off breathing ability. (been there & done that back in 1987 w/a broodmare. she did live. But that is another story.) Jumpsnake could answer your question much better then I can.
                        There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.



                        • #13
                          Seems you got way more snake bite experience than you really truly care for!
                          Jingles for the silly mare.

                          (it was the cookies, I tell you!)


                          • #14
                            We are having a bad time with rattlers right now.
                            A friend came across 4 around his house two days ago.
                            Another had his three month old puppy bitten two days ago, that is thankfully better today.
                            Our overly warm and dry start to fall is making snakes move more than they normally would.

                            Hope that mare is on the mend now.


                            • Original Poster


                              Sedona is doing just fine. The wound is holding at same size & depth and she is not rubbing or fussing with it. It is doing so well that I am cleaning it only once a day now but checking it twice a day in case it turns nasty.
                              She sees me coming and marches over for the cleaning--or maybe she is coming over for the cookies or carrots? LOL

                              I am seeing more rattlers in this past month then I have this year or last year together.

                              I've been up here since '83 and have had one dog get bit and 4 different horses. Only one was life threatening. I'll try to write more about the snakes on my
                              site tomorrow. Just haven't had the time today.

                              Absolutely, she went and found a snake so I would give her treats. Her snake bites seem to bother me a whole lot more then they bother her.
                              There is no such thing as "bad" horsemanship or "good" horsemanship. There is simply Horsemanship or the absence thereof.



                              • #16
                                Glad to read Sedona is fine ~ Jingles continue ~
                                Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                • #17
                                  OM, so sorry to read about this. Super glad you knew what to do to jump right on it and get her right again.
                                  "Aye God, Woodrow..."