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Rattlesnake bite! A camping trip with our dogs goes sideways



rattlesnake bite! a camping trip with our dogs goes sideways


What to do if your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake
• Realize immediately as a life threatening emergency that requires professional help.
• Keep your dog calm to slow down the spread of the poison through the blood and organs.
•Not Touch the wound, put on a tourniquet, or try (for God’s sake) to suckle it.
•Call the nearest emergency vet, tell them you come with a rattlesnake bite and make sure they have enough antivenin for your dog’s weight.
•Arrive as quickly as possible; Counting minutes.

It happens in a blink of an eye. We stop the van on a remote forest road and let the dogs out to stretch their legs. The down-to-earth hound, Scooby, examines every rock and tuft of grass near the van and then winds its way into a thick coiled rope ten feet from our tires. The rope triggers a sharp warning rattle. Scooby flinches back in shock. Good dog, Scooby.

Unfortunately, the innocent Greenlandic stray dog ​​Molly (she had never seen a tree before the age of three, let alone a reptile) happily and wagging her tail rushes over to investigate. BAM! Molly howls and frantically rows back. Blood drips into her muzzle from two deep punctures.

At that moment, I couldn’t believe what had just happened. My husband Eric and I are wildlife biologists who study polar bears. We spend months each year working in dangerous conditions on the sea ice above the Arctic Circle. We regularly prepare for all eventualities.

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Aviation fuel dumped a year earlier? Check. Replacement helicopter pilot lined up? Check. Satellite phone, rifle, morphine? Check, check, check. We assume that the Arctic is dangerous. Here and now, looking for a break from the stresses of urban life in a pandemic, we are completely surprised.

But luckily we are not helpless. As I later learned from poisonous snake expert Stephen Spear, we have the two most important first aid items needed when someone (or a dog) is bitten by a poisonous snake: car keys and a cell phone.

I rummage hastily for the ziplock bag that I had labeled DOG ER. Would two Benadryls at least calm Molly down, prevent a histamine reaction, or buy us time? Hopefully. Now we both dogs and our gear frantically shovel into the van and begin the 70-minute pedal-to-the-metal ride over a bumpy forest path to the nearest vet.

West of the Cascades, Eric and I live in a pleasant outdoor world without extremes. No heat waves, hurricanes, grizzly bears or disease-carrying ticks. Our biggest complaint? Too many cloudy days. But travel 100 miles east to the drier parts of the state where many Washingtoners camp, fish, and hike, and we’re in the land of rattlesnakes.

As more people and their pets are leaving town and heading east during Covid-19, being aware of the rattlesnakes and where you are likely to encounter one and what to do if you are one can save your dog’s life to encounter. Or your own.

Rattlesnakes are marvels of natural engineering. They hunt rodents and other small prey using eyesight, smell, vibrations, and special heat sensing organs located in holes in their faces called pits (as in “pit vipers”). Regardless of their frightening reputation, most rattlesnakes are defensive in temperament.

They prefer to avoid larger animals, including us, and offer intruders ample time to retreat with their unmistakably percussive rattle. If a curious dog gets too close, it’s not the snake’s fault, which is just trying to do what it does best: survive.

Rattlesnakes live all of central and eastern Washington. Identification is easy because we only have one species: the North Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus), a subspecies of the western rattlesnake. Color and markings can vary, but if it has a rattle on its tail it’s a rattlesnake (noteworthy: there are doppelgangers, but without rattles). The generic name Crotalus means “little bell” in Greek.

Rattlesnakes in the North Pacific prefer warm, south-facing slopes within a few kilometers of the rocky areas they bury themselves in, sometimes by the hundreds. They are generally found in low elevations and are active between April and September. (If you want to get really nerd, check out this analysis of the distribution of rattlesnakes on the Columbia River plateau in Washington.)

Eric and I are members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Polar Bear Specialist Group, one of many expert groups around the world focusing on a single species or group of species. When I decided to be a nerd myself, I called an expert from the Viper Specialist Group.

Venomous snake biologist Stephen Spear has been fascinated by venomous snakes all his life. Our specialty, polar bears, are iconic, charismatic predators and we usually take people’s interest in them for granted. But why snakes? I asked? “I’ve always had a thing for outsiders,” says Steve. When other children crowded around the lion enclosure, he officially adopted the copper head as a child at the local zoo.

I email Steve a picture I hastily snapped of Molly’s archenemy. “That’s a beautiful snake,” he states dryly. Indeed. I had learned from the scientific literature that one can estimate the size of a snake by measuring the distance between its fangs. Or, in Molly’s case, the space between the fishing holes on her face.

This made sense to me as I once discovered that a walrus had tusked a polar bear with a similar metric on the head. The 25mm distance between the fangs on Molly’s snout indicated a very large rattlesnake in the North Pacific. They can be up to five meters long.

It’s a myth, Spear says, that small or juvenile snakes are more deadly or less able to measure their toxin release. The larger the snake, the greater the poison capacity. Hence the inter-catch metric, which was developed in part for the medical community that treats snakebites. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake in the southeastern United States is the largest rattlesnake in the world, and its bite is extremely dangerous, largely because of its size and venom capacity.

How snake venom works depends on the species. The venom of many species of rattlesnake is necrotizing; it digests the meat around the bites (and later in the body). In contrast, the cobra’s poison has a paralyzing effect on the nervous system and stops breathing. However, some rattlesnakes evolved to have venom like a cobra because they prey on fast moving lizards.

Snakes don’t waste their venom – it takes energy to produce it and time to replenish – so some defensive rattlesnake bites are “dry”. It wasn’t Mollys. Her face swelled up in 30 minutes, despite my Hail Mary application of Benadryl.

But Molly is relatively young and healthy and thanks to our cell phone (call ahead to make sure they have the antivenin in stock) and Eric’s ace ambulance driver, we got her to the ambulance in Yakima in an hour. The vet tells us that she was bitten in the face was a good thing; Legs are good too (relatively speaking). The tongue and torso are much worse places to be bitten because they have more blood flow.

Molly was hospitalized overnight and given antivenin (also called an antidote) intravenously. She was brought home with us within 24 hours, painful, swollen, sick and shaky – but alive. We were lucky.

What should the public know about rattlesnakes? I asked Dr. Spear, except that they can bite? Well, he said, the chances of meeting one are slim. Even scientists looking for them have a hard time finding them.

However, warming the climate could change that. As elevated temperatures become more common, rattlesnakes are expected to spend more months outside their den and be active longer during the day.

Finally he said, “It is a hard life to be a rattlesnake. We should have some empathy. They are extremely patient – they sit in a coil and wait hours and even days for something to come. “

Molly’s face has returned to normal and she has generally returned to her happy self. But let the bedroom fan rattle and she’ll be shaking under the bed in no time. Will this new fear lead to a healthy aversion to snakes? Let’s hope so.

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Dog Breeds

Vet Recommended: Best Natural Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs



vet recommended: best natural flea and tick prevention for dogs

Summer usually brings lots of fun and outdoor adventures that most of us look forward to, but with it comes a greater amount of pesky insects and parasites that can affect our pets’ wellbeing.

We try to avoid the use of toxins in our pets (and in our own environment), but in some cases we may have to choose our fights based on how difficult the flea / tick problem is. Fortunately, in many geographic regions, the use of pharmaceutical flea and tick products can be avoided for much of the year and reduced to a few times of use during the summer season.

There is significant concern about the number of side effects seen with the newer flea and tick medications (prescription pills). There are increasing reports of dogs with neurological reactions, tremors, seizures, behavior changes, liver damage, and GI disorders. In fact, these prescription flea products contain chemical pesticide ingredients that act as neurotoxins to kill the parasites (via effects on the insect’s nervous system). Originally it was suggested that the products were reasonably safe for dogs as the active ingredients were believed to be selective for arthropods (insects). But it is now apparent that these neurotoxins can affect our pets as well. In fact, many of the pharmaceutical companies had to adjust their warnings on the label to mention the side effects.

Some of the topical spot-on products don’t contain the same types of pesticides, but obviously still contain chemicals that can be toxic. In addition, new studies report that chemical pesticides from topical flea and tick products are measured in alarming amounts in our bodies of water, rivers and sewers. Hence, we see that the growing popularity of using spot-on pesticides on our pets is now also adding to environmental toxicity.

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So how can we avoid the use of chemicals and keep our pets free of fleas and ticks?

Looking for a solution in nature

To best support the health and wellbeing of our pets, we’re looking at natural, non-toxic options for flea and tick prevention. In fact, the best protection begins with a healthy, species-appropriate fresh or raw food diet with a low carbohydrate content. Simply put, a healthy dog ​​will attract fewer fleas than a dog with a compromised immune system or chronic illness.

Food to fight fleas and ticks

Some simple foods can be added to your dog’s diet to provide additional immune system support and to make parasites more resilient. This includes foods like fresh garlic and raw honey.

  • Fresh garlic has natural anti-parasite and immune support properties and is quite safe for dogs in small, reasonable amounts. Add ¼ teaspoon of freshly chopped garlic for every 15 pounds. the dog’s body weight is a great daily routine during the flea and tick season (or all year round). Note: Garlic in powder or capsule supplements does not have the same effects as freshly chopped garlic.
  • Raw honey is a wonderful (and delicious) immune system booster. Add about ½ tsp for every 15 pounds. Body weight of the dog per day. The benefits are greater with locally produced honey as it offers immune support properties that fight allergens in your specific area.

Food supplement to protect against parasites

In addition to nutrition, we can proactively support the immune system of our pets with specific natural nutritional supplements.

  • Bovine liposomal colostrum is an excellent immune support dietary supplement. This is the first milking from a cattle (cow) source. All mammals produce colostrum for their newborns at birth, which provides antibodies and immune factors, growth and repair peptides for improved gut, immune and other body systems health. I recommend Super Pet Nutrition, which is better absorbed and therefore has increased potency.
  • Milk thistle and dandelion A routine or seasonal detox can go a long way in supporting your pet’s resilience and overall health. These are safe and gentle detox options to protect your liver and kidneys.
  • Daily defense (I recommend Glacier Peak Holistic to my patients) is an excellent choice for seasonal or year-round use. This dietary supplement can be added to the feed once a day and contains nutrients that support the function of the immune system, resistance to parasites and also specific detoxification benefits.

Natural flea and tick prevention options

Natural possibilities for flea and tick repellants for direct use on pets or in their vicinity are also an effective preventive measure. Natural products require more frequent application and use to match the effectiveness of chemical products and prescription drugs. Fleas are generally easier to fight off or kill than ticks, which are more resilient and usually require stronger active ingredients. When it comes to ticks, nothing can replace careful control of your dog’s ticks after he’s been outdoors. Using a flea comb with fine teeth can also be an effective way to find ticks or fleas, and a tick removal tool can also come in very handy. Remember that fleas live more in the area than they do on the pet. So if you do find them in your pet, make sure to include your home environment as well.

Kieselguhr (DE)

Diatomaceous earth offers a safe and natural option that can be used in your home, directly on pets, and also outdoors in the garden. DE is a silky fine powder that acts as a desiccant or desiccant to effectively kill fleas and their larvae. Use a high quality food grade DE (not industrial grade) that can be sprinkled on your pet’s bedding, as well as on carpets, furniture, and anywhere else your pet spends a lot of time. Let the DE dust sit for about 24 hours and then vacuum it up. You can also apply DE directly to your pet’s hair, fur, and skin, but avoid the face, eyes, nose, and mouth entirely. Bathing your pet about 24 hours later can also be ideal, as DE can potentially dry out the skin as well.


Beneficial nematodes (Steinernema Carpocapsae) are a great option for natural parasite control in your garden or outdoors. Nematodes are used to protect gardens and plants from ants and caterpillars, but they are also effective prevention against fleas and ticks because they feed on the larval stages of these insects while they are still in the ground. Check your local garden center for these nematodes.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits and can also be used to ward off fleas. Mixed with equal parts (50/50) of the solution, ACV can be aerosolized or applied to your dog before going outdoors.

Take oil

Neem is a tree native to India and is highly valued for its diverse medicinal properties offered by the bark, flowers, and the oil made from its seeds. One of the many health benefits of neem oil is its natural insecticidal properties. Neem is used in organic farming to protect plants from insects and is also very safe and effective for pets and humans.

Essential oils

Many essential oils (EOs) have flea and tick repellent properties. It’s important to only use high quality therapeutic oils or trustworthy products with pet-safe formulas like AnimalEO, which are available in the form of sprays or newer flea and tick wipes. Common EOs used for pest control include cedar, peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, catnip, eucalyptus, and geranium. I recommend Wondercide

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Dog Breeds

A little French named “Sergio”



a little french named "sergio"

If you’ve never heard of Sergio, the little Chihuahua who lives in Westchester, now you are. This little guy, very fit at 6 pounds, was rescued by Jeanmarie Daly a few years ago. Of course, everyone thinks their dogs, especially Chihuahua owners, are the absolute best breeds, but Sergio has something very special and special about them.

He takes French courses. “Oui” you read that right, French lessons!

Sergio’s neighbor, who lives in the same house, is a 12 year old French teacher at Ardsley Middle School for 7th grade students. However, all of that changed during the pandemic when classes went virtual. Obviously, Monsieur was talking to his students about this particular little pooch, and the students were writing stories about Sergio, who had become a legend in their minds. Well, the best surprise, or should I say, Surprendre was the day Sergio actually came into class on his laptop and looked at the students. Sergio was fascinated and sat quietly to watch all the excited faces.

After Sergio’s first appearance, he was repeatedly asked to take part. Monsieur was only too happy to allow Sergio to attend class as all the students smiled and were especially happy to see their new classmates. It was evident that Sergio the little Chihuahua had become the class mascot and one of the best things that happened to that class during the pandemic. It seems that Sergio can tell the time too, knowing exactly when to scratch his door in order to run down the hall to Monsieur’s apartment. Sergio is never late for class!

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At the end of the year, the students bought Sergio a donut squeak toy that he loves. When the school was back up and the students returned to the classrooms, Sergio took a sabbatical. He’s sure to pay a visit in the fall when the students hear about this special little French guy next year!

As Sergio would say, “Goodbye” !!

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Dog Breeds

Meet Riley | The boat



meet riley | the boat

Name and age of the dog: Riley, 1 year

Nicknames: Rileypup

Adoption history: We adopted Riley from humane society when he was ten weeks old. She had a mild cold and needed some medication when we brought her home, but we couldn’t be happier! When choosing her name, we wanted something Irish because we adopted her on St. Patrick’s Day and we thought Riley would be a good fit.

At home, Riley loves to cuddle, but at the dog park loves to zoom around everywhere. Riley is a one-of-a-kind dog; She likes to run around, do her own thing, and march to her own beat. Every time we come home, she gives us that gorgeous smile with her majestic beard!

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