Snake bite treatment in horses

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Snake bite treatment in horses

Postby URSULA » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:44 am

I would like an option on how to treat a puff adder bite in a horse,
I have seen first hand the damage that it can cause. The horse that I know was bitten by a puff adder had massive tissue damage and has to be put down as a result of this. The bite was in the lower hind leg and the “damage” resulted in abscesses that would not heal and muscle wastage into the hip. It was not a pretty sight at all! Treatment was quite lengthy and from what I understand anti venom was used initially , anti biotics for about 2 weeks, then as necessary for almost a year. Other things like creams etc were used.
The reason I ask is because of the number of very strange remedies that people say work.
I have copied some of the “treatments” and suggestions for examples:

“huge doses of vit C will neutralise any toxin, also a pegasus homeopathic remedy for bites, give same dose as for humans (confirmed this with Pegasus) it also neutralises toxins, neither can do any harm even if it turns out not to be a snake bite.
“he used Colloidal Silver. Speak to the vet about this before you administer it tho

If it was a puff adder the hair around the bite will start to fall out in little hoof shaped patches, this might only happen later on though...

“We injected cortisone and penicillin and have treated the puncture with Miracle Healing Balm.”

“used ice wrapped in a cloth to keep the site cool which, the vet said later, prevented much of the initial swelling. Then he (the vet) gave him an anti-swell injection and since the chin still became twice its size I shudder to think what it would have looked like otherwise. After a few days the whole chin literally sloughed off and I sprayed with purple spray for a few times until the horse wouldn't allow it any more. Then, on the vet's advice, we left it to heal by itself which it did quite miraculously in an unbelievably short time.”

“I applied an anti-inflammatory gel all over his leg except on the wound. For the wound itself I mixed powdered kelp, slippery elm powder and healing balm together. This is a good combination to draw out any impurities or poison as well as to assist in preventing infection from setting in. The healing balm also, with its cell generating properties would assist greatly. Internally I gave him herbs that would assist in absorbing and removing poisons from the body – Kelp, Burdock root, Rue, Slippery Elm and Vervain. Herbs that assist in cellular regeneration and those that will help to fight infection and inflammation are also good to give them.”

I live on a small holding with 3 horses and would be very interested in how you guys would treat a bite.
Having kept snakes including puff adders, I do have “knowledge” about snake bites and treatments however this is a question I am not to sure how I would answer myself.

Thank you in advance.
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Re: Snake bite treatment in horses

Postby froot » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:23 pm

For superficial, any antibacterial application to prevent secondary infection.
For internal, antivenom - surely!
SAVP serum is produced from horse plasma so I would speculate that the risk of allergic reaction to the serum in a horse would be much lower than humans - and possibly more effective. If this is the case you should be able to inject a considerable amount of serum to combat the venom. At the end of the day the outcome again depends hugely on the amount of time between bite and treatment. The smaller that is, the better.

This is not experience speaking, it's just speculation.
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Re: Snake bite treatment in horses

Postby URSULA » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:17 pm

I would agree with you however this does not seem to be the normal way to treat a bite. I would say that perhaps a number of bites are incorrectly blamed on a puff adder and that might make a vet hesitant to proscribe anti venom?
I am not too sure. The recovery rate seems to be quite good with nothing more than swelling and a wound. I agree that treatment should happen as soon afterwards as possible but this can be difficult if the horses are out in the veld.
I have not had a lot of experience with this and neither has my vet with whom I was discussing this with. I just found that there is very little information or discussion over this and was curious as to what the snake people would say so to speak.
I always thought that a possible reaction to the serum was one of the reasons as to way it was not always the first course of treatment forgetting that they use horses to manufacture it! I call it a blond moment! Lol
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Re: Snake bite treatment in horses

Postby Bushviper » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:13 pm

Horse serum would work the best in horses so we use it on humans because we are not allowed to use humans to make antivenoms. Puff adder bites cause swelling and necrosis so if you get antivenom into the horse quick enough the horse will be saved. If the tissue has already been destroyed then no amount of antivenom is going to help.

Snake do not always give off the same amount of venom and other bites could be from night adders or other cytotoxic snakes which cause much less damage. This would lull you into a sense of false security regarding snake bite.

A decent puff adder bite will require antivenom and any horse with serious swelling should have his blood clotting tested and if this is less than normal then assume it was a snake bite and give antivenom.

The other treatments you mention are just for secondary infection and have no effect on the venom itself. Huge doses of vit C will have NO EFFECT ON SNAKE VENOMS. The hair will fall out from many more snake venoms than just a puff adder. There are also no anti-swell injections. Disregard that whole piece of "advice'.
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