Dog bitten by rattlesnake

By Ben Westcott, Chronicle Staff Writer

A story posted about a dog bitten by a timber rattlesnake on the Fifth Peak trail in Lake George’s Tongue Mountain Range spread widely on social media.

An unnamed hiker posted May 27 on the Reddit app that the previous day their 15-pound dog was bitten on the trail.

The hiker wrote that on the way down from the peak, approximately two miles from the parking lot, they encountered a “rather big snake blocking the trail.”

The snake was described as “black with a blue and orange rattling tail, 2-3 times bigger than our pup.”

“My dog launched at the snake despite my commands and got bit,” the hiker wrote. “Our dog was off-leash, which was mistake #1. We picked him up and ran, fueled by adrenaline and fear. In 30-45 minutes, we made it down the mountain; our pup was visibly in pain.”

They drove to Ticonderoga to get cell service and called an emergency vet in South Glens Falls what said they did not have any antivenin [also called antivenom].

“I started crying, and they said to bring him in anyway,” the hiker wrote.

“We turned around and made it to the hospital 54 of the longest minutes later.

“The dog was visibly dying in my arms. I kept pouring water gently on his head just so he would continue to lick it off and show signs of life. I don’t know if it had any positive or negative impact, but it gave me some peace of mind that he was still functioning.”

When they reached the vet in South Glens Falls there was good news. “They told us they discovered one vial of antivenin in their facility,” the hiker wrote. “So they injected him with this reversal drug two hours after the attack.”

The hiker said the dog was then transferred to an animal hospital in Latham to go through his second blood transfusion.
“The first one improved his blood coagulation, but more needs to be done. He will probably need another overnight stay before we can bring him home.”

The hiker said the bill from the first treatment came up to $1,500, and the second one will range from $3-6k.

“Expensive, yes, but we are extremely pleased with the professionalism of doctors and staff and grateful that they saved his life and that we have funds to not hesitate in making this decision.”

The Chronicle reached out to NYS DEC Public Information Officer Jeff Wernick, who said that in response to the incident, DEC reposted warnings at trailheads to emphasize the need to keep dogs leashed.

He added, “If someone sees a rattlesnake in the wild, they should keep a distance of at least six feet and let the snake move on its own. Rattlesnakes are not aggressive unless provoked. If an accidental bite occurs, seek immediate medical attention.”

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