From Bobra Goldsmith:"Sandy Mubarack of Southern California has saved 13 (!) llamas from rattlesnake bite
successfully. She recently recommended to me to get flexible tubing with 3/8 in. interior dimension and 5/8 in. exterior
I found 3/8 in. x 1/2
in tubing and got that. It should be 2 ft. long. This is to insert in the
nostrils to keep the air passages open.
The tubing I got is clear, like what a vet uses. Also, it needs to
be rounded at the end where it was cut at the store so that the edge isn't sharp. And one of the things Sandy
told me was that all her animals did eat and drink. All but two were on their feet all the time. the other two she propped
up in sternal position with bales and put another bale under their heads while they were kushed. The important thing was
to keep them eating and drinking to dilute the toxins and flush the system, plus the the IV, of course.
After the tube is inserted in the nostril the excess should be passed up between the ears and fastened on with duct
tape. Her vet puts the llama on IV and the animal is kept calm, etc."
Another Hint from a Breeder
If you live in an area with rattlesnakes, keep the round hair
curlers on hand. If a bite occurs on the nose area, take
the tube, the part you wrap your hair around, and insert it into
the llama's nostrils as soon as possible. You may have to
tape in place. These will keep their air supply open as
the swelling continues.
Treatment from Dr. Norm Evans Vet Manual:
Blood tests to monitor CBC, platlet count, clotting
factor, BUN, creatinine, CP, glucose.
Benadryl at 75mg per 100lbs body weight to counteract allergic
reactions to antivenin.
Lactated Ringers Solution fluids should be administered
aggressively to combat the primary problem of hypovolemic shock.
Polyvalent antivenin of equine origin should be carefully
administered if platlet counts are low and dropping. One vial per 75 lbs body
weight in one liter, administered slowly. Observe closely for anaphylactic
shock. If reaction occurs, stop infusion and administer benadryl, wait ten
minutes, restart infusion at lower rate. Epinephrine should be on hand.
Repeated administration may be necessary dependent on platlet count, clotting
factor, regression of swelling.
Broad spectrum antibiotic.
Do not administer corticosteroids, DMSO, aspirin or butazolidin.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Of course keep the airway open.
Note that rattlesnake bites may have no to large amounts of venom injected, so
it's primarily the repeated blood tests and secondarily the swelling indication
that one must go by and treat accordingly. A hospital environment with a
laboratory is probably best for conducting the repeated testing.
Additional Sources of Information:
- This article has photos and also instructions for a snake trap.
in Camelids - Dr. Mike Zager, DVM - 2009
Rattlesnakes! - After you
have given medical care to your llama or alpaca, you may find this site very
interesting as it deals with snake-proofing your home and yard, basic
information, and a list of do's and don'ts.