Valley vets are warning residents of Rattlesnakes

FRESNO, Calif.

Bella and her partner in crime Sebastian are lucky to be alive after a rattlesnake bite sent them to the vet's office. Owner Brandon Lee lives in Friant not too far from where snakes come out after hibernation. This week the dogs were exploring their backyard near these foothills when they got bitten by a snake.

Local veterinarian Chris Dobbins and his staff treated five dogs in just two hours on Tuesday evening for snake bites. He says this year the reptiles are slithering out sooner than usual. "The early snakes, the babies, their venom is the most potent and it's the strongest and they don't know how to strike yet and when they strike they keep pumping the venom into the victims," said Dobbins.

Vets say a pet's swollen face is a classic reaction after a rattlesnake bite. Experts say smaller dogs are more at risk of being infected faster by the venom. But, in some cases your dog may have a delayed reaction. "If they have been out exercising and they are kind of dehydrated and the venom may be stuck in that area where they got struck and hasn't spread yet," added Dobbins.

Experts say if you notice your dog is lethargic or think they might be the victim of a snake bite, take them to the vet immediately to get treated with anti-venom shots. However those anti-venom shots and treatments are expensive so they best way to make sure our dog stay safe is to keep the animal on a leash when you're out hiking in remote areas near rivers and lakes.

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