Doctors warn of increase in snakes biting dogs


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Snakes can catch you and your pets off guard, posing a risk when walking your dog. With warmer weather this time of year, a local veterinarian tells News4JAX, you should be on the lookout.

"Snakes are always a problem because we have a tropical environment. We have a climate that is snake friendly," said Dr. Christian Broadhurst, the Senior Staff Veterinarian with Clay Humane.

Snakes are more active during the Spring and Summer months, including three venomous types: Rattlesnakes, Coperheads, and Water Moccasins. They need sunlight to heat up their metabolism.

But when it rains, they can be seen even more.

"With all the rain we've had lately, we have had the opposite effect where rattlesnakes and highland species are chased out," said Dr. Broadhurst.

If you live near a new development, expect to see snakes because their habitat has been destroyed and they are looking for a new one.

Most snake bites will happen to your dog's face or muzzle because they are so closed to the ground.

"Just be on the lookout," advised Dr. Broadhurst. "Your dogs are much closer to the ground than you are. They are looking. They are sniffing and they are going to come into contact with these things first."

If your dog is bitten by a snake you are advised to make a mental note of of the size and coloring of the snake. That information can be used to save your dog's life. Then get the animal to a veterinarian right away.

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