Rattlesnake bites on rise in Routt, Moffat counties
A dog named Woodford is recovering after having a painful encounter with a rattlesnake Saturday in Hayden.
The Morris family lives on North Fifth Street in Hayden, and they were getting ready for a camping trip with the dogs in the front yard.
Lydia Morris said they heard barking and went outside to find Woodford limping.
“We weren’t really sure what happened,” Morris said.
Woodford’s paw swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, and they took him to see Dr. Wayne Davis at the Craig Veterinary Hospital.
Davis shaved Woodford’s leg and put him on a regimen of anti-venom after finding two puncture wounds from a rattlesnake.
“To have one in the town of Hayden — that’s kind of bizarre,” Davis said. “If you have them in town, that’s certainly a concern, especially with kids.”
It is also odd that Davis has already treated 12 animals this year with rattlesnake bites.
“I think we typically see more rattlesnake bites in late summer and early fall,” Davis said.
Davis speculated that the rattlesnake populations in Routt and Moffat counties have increased because of an increase in the ground squirrel population, which rattlesnakes eat.
“It could very well be that the snake population is increasing because of that,” Davis said. “That’s all theoretical.”
In Steamboat Springs, Pet Kare Clinic has treated one cat with a suspected rattlesnake bite.
Davis said there are steps dog and horse owners can take to help prevent a fatal rattlesnake bite.
“It causes their immune system to produce anti-venom,” Davis said.
“So far I’ve only had to give anti-venom to two dogs that had been vaccinated.”
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