Rattlers Biting Tall City Pets

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - It's usually bad news for anything or anyone that gets in a rattlesnake's way. Over the last week, those victims have been the pets of the Tall City.

As rattlers slither out of their dens and into the city in search of water, backyards are becoming dangerous places for pets, maybe even fatal ones.

"A lot of it depends on how much venom the animal received and the location of the bite," Dr. Ann Wills of the Permian Basin Emergency Veterinary Clinic, said. "The venom actually creates an instability to the blood vessels. They get very low in blood pressure. They also get a lot of destruction of the tissues around there. That's why you can get a lot of swelling."

After making some calls, Midland Animal Control and local veterinarians told NewsWest 9 it is a problem.

Vets all over the Tall City, from Big Spring Street to Midkiff to Wall Street to Kessler, are reportedly treating between two to five pets each for rattlesnake bites this week, some coming in just Thursday morning.

Midlander Bridget Hill's dog, "Sable", is believed to have brushed with a rattler Wednesday morning.

"Her head was huge, almost deformed-looking," Hill said. "Her snout was swollen on one side, and her eyes completely just swollen shut. Just awful."

"Sable" is on the path to recovery, but Hill is now on the lookout to protect her grandchildren.

"I have a two-year-old granddaughter, and the thought of she and I out in the backyard and encountering that, that really scared me," she said.

Vets said without treatment, an animal could die from the venom, and they're encouraging pet owners to have their furry friends vaccinated for the venom.

The vaccine doesn't make pets immune, but it does make the poison less fatal and makes treatment simpler and less expensive.

The vaccine costs around $50.

Without it, treatment could cost anywhere up to $1500.

"I think the vaccination is very effective," Wills said. "The vaccination takes one injection and then three weeks later a booster and then annual boosters after that. Even though they need treatment, it does decrease the mortality of the disease."

Vets said the vaccine can be one more step to making sure your pets stay alive if they're bitten.