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Vets see spike in number of pets with snakebites

4:56 PM, May 30, 2010   |    comments
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Experts say dozens of pets have been bitten by rattlesnakes this month in the metro area.

Two dogs were bitten by rattlesnakes at Great Plains Dog Park in Aurora this month.

"We've had to temporarily close the park as we evaluate the situation and figure out a way to make it safe for pets and pet owners again. We're not sure how long that will take," Jenna Baker, with the City of Aurora, said.

Veterinarians say the number of snakebites this spring is surprising.

"Typically our clinic sees about one or two cases each season. We've had five cases already this spring within this last three or four weeks," Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Mullen, with Seven Hills Veterinary Clinic said.

Mullen says the number of cases has caught many clinics off guard and without antivenin to help with a bite.

"It's kind of an unusual thing for us to need this much [antivenin]. Usually one bottle is enough. We've had to re-order multiple times," Mullen said.

Mullen says the clinic also offers a vaccine for pets that lowers the severity of the bite symptoms and gives the pet owners more time to get to the vet.

The vaccine costs about $30, but the emergency visit for a pet that's been bitten by a rattlesnake costs much more.

"The entire visit can easily cost $1,500. The antivenin is $600 alone," Mullen said.

There have also been two reports of people in Colorado being bitten by rattlesnakes this month, according to officials.

Mullen wants to remind people that snakes of all types are out now because of the heat, and that if you or your pet is bit by one, you need to seek medical help immediately no matter the location of the bite.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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