Rattlesnake season approaches for northern Nevada

RENO, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- The weather is warming up, which means snake season is here. The Nevada Department of Wildlife expects there will be more rattlesnake sightings this year, because of dryer conditions.

"If you live in Nevada, you live in rattlesnake country," said Nevada Department of Wildlife Spokesperson Chris Healy.

Another dry winter and warmer temperatures outside will likely bring a lot more rattlesnakes out this year. The Nevada Department of Wildlife says rattlesnake bites are more common in pets than in humans. "So control your pets, keep them on a leash, because most the time when pets get bitten, it's usually on the nose, because they're sniffing and their curious," said Healy.

But if your dog is bit by a rattlesnake, veterinarians recommend bringing them immediately to an animal hospital.

"There's no real first aid the owner can do," said Dr. Bob Baker from Baring Boulevard Veterinary Hospital. "Certainly don't make any snake bite kits where you make an incision and suck the venom out is not what you want to do."

Dr. Baker said most animals that get bit by rattlesnakes survive. That's because the first bite usually does not have a lot of venom in it. "Dogs that are persistent with the snake and get bitten more than once are likely to get more venom, and also younger snakes are likely to give more venom per bite."

And although snake bites are rare for people, if you are bit, doctors say to go straight to the emergency room for treatment, just like your pets. "Don't put any tourniquet on it, don't try to suck out the venom, that's worse," said Renown Family Nurse Practitioner Amanda Brothwell. "If you have any rings or watches on, you want to take those out because you're going to expect it to swell."

During spring, NDOW said snakes usually come out during mid-day, so be aware of your surroundings.

Rattlesnake avoidance training is recommended for your dogs as the best defense mechanism to keep them from getting bit. Classes take place at Galena Creek State Park from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on June 14-15 and July 12-13. You can visit this website for more information.

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