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Old 09-30-2010, 05:57 PM
Josh97526 Josh97526 is online now
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Default Rattlesnake anti-venom?



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Most of us have seen the snake bite kits, or already have one of their own, but they are only there to help slow down the process, until you can get medical treatment. A full sized adult would have quite a bit of time to get treated for a snake bite, perhaps even 24 hours if they had supervision, but it doesn't stop "killing you" until you get the "antidote".
It's the children I am concerned with. My youngest is only five, and if she was bitten, I would have minutes, not hours, to help her. If the SHTF, or we were in the middle of no-where hunting, I want that anti-venom! I haven't found a good place to buy it yet, and even if I did, I think you would require some kind of license. Has anyone else looked into this? Is it possible to make? How do I get my hands on it? A deadly snake bite is one of the few emergencies that I can't really seem to prep for, without it involving a hospital visit.
Old 09-30-2010, 06:04 PM
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As a keeper of venomous snakes, I can give you an educated answer. The antivenin must be prescribed by your doctor and costs an average of $900 per vial. It must be kept refrigerated and has an expiration date. An average bite takes up to 10 vials to treat.
It has to be administered via an I.V. drip solution, not just injected.

So, unless you have a doctor who would prescribe it, about $9000 extra cash that you can spend every two years, and a stock of I.V. ringers... it isn't really feasible. Better to spend a lot of time educating the child on the dangers and precautions to avoid being bitten.. and hope it is enough.
Old 09-30-2010, 06:05 PM
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You have to know what kind of snake bit you and have the anti-venom for it. Also, it is also necessary to receive multie doses of it over the course of days to weeks. I know of some people who have had to have up to 35 does of it.

Then you have to consider the surgical requirements such as opening the wound to protect from extreme swelling as well as debridement of the wound in the event of a hematoxin (like a rattlesnake).

If you are bit by a snake with a neurotoxin ( such as a cobra or coral snake) you need to consider mechanicL life support (a ventilator) until the venom wears off.

Some snake have venom with both hematoxic and neurotoxic properties that compound the problem.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:08 PM
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As a keeper of venomous snakes, I can give you an educated answer. The antivenin must be prescribed by your doctor and costs an average of $900 per vial. It must be kept refrigerated and has an expiration date. An average bite takes up to 10 vials to treat.
It has to be administered via an I.V. drip solution, not just injected.

So, unless you have a doctor who would prescribe it, about $9000 extra cash that you can spend every two years, and a stock of I.V. ringers... it isn't really feasible. Better to spend a lot of time educating the child on the dangers and precautions to avoid being bitten.. and hope it is enough.
Wow. Not the answer I was hoping for. But, that's what I have been finding out. I educate them about it quite a bit, especially because we have a pretty high rattlesnake population around here. It's one of my biggest fears. I would very likely survive a bite, unless it was a real good one, but my kids would not. This prospect scares the crap out of me. So basically, keep away from the rattlesnakes, and hope I can still call for a med-evac chopper post SHTF. Does anyone have better alternatives that those "snake bite kits", because it doesn't seem like they would work very well? I have heard the best thing to do is leave it alone, and keep your heart rate down.
Old 09-30-2010, 06:09 PM
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The OP is in Oregon.. unless he is talking about moving elsewhere in a shtf situation, he only has 1 venomous snake in his area. The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus Viridis Oregonus, is the only dangerous snake he will encounter up there. They are not particularly aggressive, but their bite is worse than a copperhead, although not as bad as a western diamondback.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:11 PM
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You have to know what kind of snake bit you and have the anti-venom for it. Also, it is also necessary to receive multie doses of it over the course of days to weeks. I know of some people who have had to have up to 35 does of it.

Then you have to consider the surgical requirements such as opening the wound to protect from extreme swelling as well as debridement of the wound in the event of a hematoxin (like a rattlesnake).

If you are bit by a snake with a neurotoxin ( such as a cobra or coral snake) you need to consider mechanicL life support (a ventilator) until the venom wears off.

Some snake have venom with both hematoxic and neurotoxic properties that compound the problem.
It's pretty much just rattlesnakes here. There are a few different varieties, but the venom is very similar, and I think (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that any "rattlesnake" antivenin will do the job, so long as they are in the same "family" of snakes?
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:15 PM
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The OP is in Oregon.. unless he is talking about moving elsewhere in a shtf situation, he only has 1 venomous snake in his area. The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, Crotalus Viridis Oregonus, is the only dangerous snake he will encounter up there. They are not particularly aggressive, but their bite is worse than a copperhead, although not as bad as a western diamondback.
I almost always see the "northern pacific" variety. They are pretty non-agressive. You would pretty much have to step right on it, or accost it in some way, because they just want to get out of your way. But lately, we have started to see more "western diamondbacks". According to research I have done, I am a bit too far north to be seeing them, but they are here. I "beheaded" one about a year ago in our campsite. He was huge. Almost as long as me (6'2")
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Josh97526 View Post
Wow. Not the answer I was hoping for. But, that's what I have been finding out. I educate them about it quite a bit, especially because we have a pretty high rattlesnake population around here. It's one of my biggest fears. I would very likely survive a bite, unless it was a real good one, but my kids would not. This prospect scares the crap out of me. So basically, keep away from the rattlesnakes, and hope I can still call for a med-evac chopper post SHTF. Does anyone have better alternatives that those "snake bite kits", because it doesn't seem like they would work very well? I have heard the best thing to do is leave it alone, and keep your heart rate down.
If the snakebite kit you have looks like an egg shaped thingy that comes apart into two rubber suction cups, throw it away. The only one on the market that will remove even a little bit of the venom is the Sawyer Extractor. It looks like a hypodermic syringe with a little plastic cup on the end of it and can be purchased at any major outdoor equipment store for about $15. It comes in a little yellow plastic box. Even with this tool, you have less than 5 minutes before it is not worth the effort.. the venom moves rapidly into the tissue and cannot be extracted after a few minutes. AND, (sorry to be such a downer here..but..) even if you apply it immediately, you will only be able to remove a VERY small percentage of the venom.

If medivac/ hospital care is absolutely impossible, your best bet is to relax, keep your heart rate down, keep the bitten limb at heart level and hope/pray.. whichever works best for you. I say "at heart level" because an elevated limb will speed the spread of the venom, and a limb that is declined will prevent the lymph drainage of the limb and cause compartmental swelling that may result in loss of the limb.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:24 PM
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Very informative guys. Thanks. Yea those "snake bite kits" are something they should keep right next to the "snake oil".

I have heard of people "cutting off the circulation" by tying a belt or other such strap around their affected limb, to stop the venom spreading to the heart. It doesn't sound quite right to me. I think that would more likely cause the "compartment syndrome" by keeping it localized, then if you let your entire immune system do the job. So the best thing to do really...is nothing. Get to the e.r. There must be a better way!
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:34 PM
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Sounds like we've some very knowledgeable people here. I am curious as the effectiveness stun-guns neutralizing the venom, twenty years ago seems like everyone swore by them as snakebite cures.

Also, how about ice therapy? Would icing down the bite area slow the spread of the venom?

elgin
Old 09-30-2010, 10:09 PM
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Reminds me of an old Hope & Crosby routine from one of the "Road" movies.
Hope: "What if I get bit by a snake?"
Crosby: "You suck the poison out."
Hope: "But what if it's somewhere I can't reach?"
Crosby: "That's when you find out who your friends are."
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elgin View Post
Sounds like we've some very knowledgeable people here. I am curious as the effectiveness stun-guns neutralizing the venom, twenty years ago seems like everyone swore by them as snakebite cures.

Also, how about ice therapy? Would icing down the bite area slow the spread of the venom?

elgin
Articles I've read said the stun gun method doesn't work. As for slowing down the spread of venom, without anti venom, all your doing is delaying the inevitable.

In a rattlesnake infested area with no possibility of medical help, snake boots or gaitors are probably the best defense, along with heightened awareness.
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Old 09-30-2010, 11:14 PM
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The best backwoods tx I know of, other than keeping the heart rate slow, buy a taser, not a stungun. If you place one taser probe over the bite, and the other on the other side of the limb, that will allow the current to flow all the way through the limb. The stun gun only allows the current to pass between the probes on top of the unit, about 2 inches thats the big difference. Google it you will see what I mean. A taser c2 will cost about 275.00 and if you can find what they call the training leads, taser cables with clips that would be the bomb. I have three childhood friends who are now doctors, and what most people dont know, anti venom is becoming more and more scarce in the US, its very costly and does not have a long shelf life. In more rural areas it can take several hours to get it now.

http://electroshockbite.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:22 AM
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Never seen any evidence that tasering a snakebite has the slightest benefit. Never seen any evidence that it didn't. I suspect that the pain would make you forget about the bite. My understanding is that it began back in the 40s as a method of treating brown recluse bites that someone thought might work on various snake bites. The claim is that the electrical current denatures the protein in the venom. Lots of anecdotal claims but there is no way to know if the snake or spider bite was seriously envenomed to start with. My own inclination is to believe it isn't useful until I see a definitive study on the matter

http://download.journals.elsevierhea...3201707028.pdf


The Sawyer extractor is a hit or miss affair. A shallow bite just thru the skin and they work but you have to apply them almost instantly. You don't get all the venom out but you get some. (Venom is designed to perfuse itself very quickly into tissue.) They don't work well on deep bites because the suction tends to collapse the wound channel. Don't work with a coral snake bite because they don't have injection fangs like a rattler. The venom comes out of grooves in their teeth and enters the bloodstream thru the wound opening. I have heard a lot of anecdotal stories of them being good for bee and scorpion stings. Makes sense because those are very shallow injections and the anecdotes may be reliable since bee stings are 100% envenomed.

First aid for snake bite is simple. Apply Sawyer if you have it. Remove all items such as jewelry and clothing that could conceivably restrict the area that has been bitten. Otherwise treat like any deep puncture would. If you are envenomed you'll know in minutes. It will hurt like heck and just get worse from then on.

According to the Red Cross:

"Wash the bite. Keep the limb immobilized and below the level of the heart. Apply a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, to help slow the venom. This should not cut off the flow of blood from a vein or artery - the band should be loose enough to slip a finger under it." This assumes that you will soon be on the way to an ER with antivenin. If you are not, there is NO other first aid to be given beyond rest, stay hydrated and get help ASAP.

I'd be curious to know if rattlesnake vaccine available for animals will ever be tested for humans. Doesn't make animals immune to snakebite but slows the response and lessens the severity.
Old 10-01-2010, 01:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highlander View Post
You have to know what kind of snake bit you and have the anti-venom for it. Also, it is also necessary to receive multie doses of it over the course of days to weeks. I know of some people who have had to have up to 35 does of it.

Then you have to consider the surgical requirements such as opening the wound to protect from extreme swelling as well as debridement of the wound in the event of a hematoxin (like a rattlesnake).

If you are bit by a snake with a neurotoxin ( such as a cobra or coral snake) you need to consider mechanicL life support (a ventilator) until the venom wears off.

Some snake have venom with both hematoxic and neurotoxic properties that compound the problem.
Ditto on what Robbiec and Highlander say. And as far as surgery, it can take MULTIPLE surgeries for debridement and then more multiple surgeries for reconstruction repair of the area.

First hand experience here with dealing with patients with rattlesnake bites. As mentioned, it takes multiple vials which are VERY expensive and you may need them over several days.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elgin View Post
Sounds like we've some very knowledgeable people here. I am curious as the effectiveness stun-guns neutralizing the venom, twenty years ago seems like everyone swore by them as snakebite cures.

Also, how about ice therapy? Would icing down the bite area slow the spread of the venom?

elgin

The electric shock therapy has been debunked. Although it won't cause any additional harm (if you don't electrocute your self or stop your heart), it doesn't do anything to the venom.

Ice is a big no-no. The tissue is being damaged by the venom, causing loss of effective blood flow and a breakdown of blood vessels... ice will make it worse and can cause further tissue damage.

**Keep in mind, 25% of all venomous snake bites are DRY BITES. There is a fairly high chance that a bite will not have any venom injected. Many "cures" that worked are simply because there was little to no venom injected to begin with.**
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Old 10-01-2010, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robbiec View Post
As a keeper of venomous snakes, I can give you an educated answer. The antivenin must be prescribed by your doctor and costs an average of $900 per vial. It must be kept refrigerated and has an expiration date. An average bite takes up to 10 vials to treat.
It has to be administered via an I.V. drip solution, not just injected.

So, unless you have a doctor who would prescribe it, about $9000 extra cash that you can spend every two years, and a stock of I.V. ringers... it isn't really feasible. Better to spend a lot of time educating the child on the dangers and precautions to avoid being bitten.. and hope it is enough.
I got bit earlier this year and took 40 vials! No kidding...the original hospital bill was 260 thousand!!!!!!!

I've fought with them for 7 months...they screwed up and wouldn't let me leave of my own accord...and now they are asking that I just pay 33K for the antivenin...of which they tried to charge me 12K PER VIAL!!!

Don't get bit; bottom line.
Old 10-01-2010, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
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Never seen any evidence that tasering a snakebite has the slightest benefit.
I've seen reports that say there's no medical evidence that it works. But they could just as easily be wrong too. The problem with most of the stun guns/tasers is that they don't really penetrate, instead they run just under the skin. Then there's the time factor. Proteins don't denature in a flash. The amount of time it would take the electricity to break them down is going to be almost intolerable and cause skin burns, etc. I don't think a second or two would do anything and I don't think anyone could tolerate it willingly for much longer. But that's just based on what I've read.
Old 10-02-2010, 11:46 AM
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snake bite kits are a joke, as a paramedic I can tell you that once something is injected, you're not getting it back out.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:06 PM
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keep your body in good physical shape and if you have any heart problems get them addressed as well , the better your in shape you are it could help to save you !!
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