Saving your pets from snakes

Officials said here in southwest Georgia there are a number of poisonous snakes that populate the area. Some of those include copper heads, cotton mouths, and rattlesnakes. Doctors said there is a rattlesnake vaccine that protects dogs before they are bitten.

Jennifer Venable is the owner of an active Labrador. She said, like many dogs, he likes to run, play fetch, and put his nose where it doesn't belong, but back in May, Hunter got into a situation that could've been fatal.

"Our neighbors came over and they heard Hunter barking right at the fence line and they said Hunter had a snake cornered at the fence," said dog owner Jennifer Venable.

It was a poisonous copper head that ended up striking the golden dog in the cheek. The family said it was their quick thinking that saved his life.

Hunter was taken into a veterinarian's office for treatment. His owner said after being given anti-venom and antibiotics, he went right back to normal.

Dr. Haley Clark who works with the Leesburg Animal Hospital said quick thinking is a good way to save your pet after a snake bite but there is also a vaccine to help the dog before it is bitten.

"If you're not home and your dog gets bitten by a snake that's when the vaccine comes in handy because it gives you some time," said veterinarian, Dr. Haley Clark.

She said anti-bodies in the rattlesnake vaccine attack the snake's venom once an animal is bitten. The vaccine wouldn't have worked in Hunter's case because he was struck by a copper head, which is not in the same family as a rattlesnake.

According to the veterinarian there are several other snakes that the vaccine does protect against. Dr. Clark said it's better to be safe than sorry.

"If you think your animal has been bitten by a snake the best thing to do is bring it in and let us make that determination," said Dr. Clark.

The rattlesnake vaccine is specific to dogs, but Dr. Clark said there have been successful results after trying it with cats.