Copperhead Bites on the Rise for Dogs - WSET.com - ABC13

Copperhead Bites on the Rise for Dogs

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Danville, VA - Local veterinarians say they're seeing more pets come in contact with Copperhead bites this year than ever before.

Often your dog will get bitten around the front part of his body.

"It felt real soft. And so when I stepped on it and looked down, I was literally standing on top of a snake," said Mandell Motley, a dog owner.

When Mandell Motley stumbled upon a Copperhead, his dog Pearl jumped in and took the bite. Motley rushed her to the vet, just like many pet-owners have been doing all summer.

"Right now I'm probably averaging at least 30 percent if not 50 % higher than I normally do," said Michael Seepe, a veterinarian.

Seepe says from now until October he typically sees the most Copperhead bites, but this season started early and started strong. But if your dog is the next Copperhead victim, Seepe says don't panic.

"Copperhead bites generally are not that venomous. They have pain. They cause a lot of swelling but it doesn't cause a life-threatening condition normally," said Seepe. 

He recommends taking your dog to a vet, often they'll get antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication, especially if this the first time.

"I'd like to see what it's doing right now so I can tell you what to expect and if something changes then I can say hey if this happens bring it in," said Seepe. 

Biology Instructor Christopher Pantazis says weather can be to blame for the Copperhead increase. A mild winter means more baby snakes and more rodents.

"You've got these snake's food in plentiful supply. You are going to have a lot more happy snakes," said Pantazis.

Experts say if the bite is from a rattlesnake, that's when you need to take immediate action and bring them into a vet. But for a Copperhead bite, your dog should be back to normal in four days.

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