snake bite

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J Baxter

Well-known member
May 5, 2004
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E Central Arkansas
I have a cow that appears to be snake bit. Is there any kind of procedure I need to go through or should I just wait it out?

I've never had a snake bite victim before, but I figured it would happen sooner or later. I guess it was time.
I've had several cows get snake bit over last couple yrs. They seem to do ok by themself, In fact i have one momma cow whos been bitten 3 different time in one yr . We named her snakebite lol
Just like a dog that has been bitten, they develope a sweling around the bite area. On one old cow that was bitten on neck area swelling about the size of a grapfruit with a small ulcer developing in center of area in about 5-6 days.This area starts to drain a little for couple of day and then they will be ok we use a little iodine or some blue screw worm med to keep flys off. hope this helps
I had two of my Longhorn cows come up with snake bites about three weeks ago. Both were bitten under the left eye. They were swollen but didn't really want me fooling with them so I just left them alone. One has healed completely and the other still has a small place that's almost healed. This was either a copperhead or rattle snake-we have both in the hills where I live. Actually one of the cows was to go to a registered sale but I kept her out due to the snake bite-she wasn't too pretty there for a while. Her bite was the worst and she had a large open sore for a couple of weeks. Both will calve in the fall-I don't think the fetus will be harmed.
I've never seen a cow snakebit so I have some questions for you all..... I have a red poll heifer that at first we thought had a ruptured naval.... but the swollen area is very hard to the touch, has a very small place in the center that looks like it may have drained at one time and has healed over.

My mentor said that usually when its rupture, the area is soft, but this isn't .... so is it possible that she has been snake bit??

I'm taking her to the vet but I can't get an appointment until the 26th... she eats fine, does not seem to be in any stress.

She did not have this when I bought her and it has just come about in the past week. What do you all think? If its rupture, would it be hard to the touch?

Its been a few years but the last snake bite was a rattler and the leg swelled up and continued to climb up the leg but after two days it started to go down all by itself and after two weeks you would never know it happened....I'd watch the animal to see it behaves normally....
Good luck...
All the ones I ahve seen have all gotten better. Lose 10 % of their body weight. Had a cow wean a calve becaue of it also. She went dry. The last pos hereford I had. I gave one onetime some anti inflamitory meds and antibiotic.

just keep an eye on her, most of the time it will just swell and start to go back down in about 2 days. you usually can see fang marks in the center and most of the time they drain on their own. most snake bites occur in the face, neck, or front leg. necks are the trickiest b/c sometimes they swelling can cut off air/blood supply (rare). weight loss is to be expected. if you just have to treat with something, oxytetracycline LA200 is a good choice.
tallk about coincidence!
i just went down to feed some cows, curled up sunning himself was a very pretty mojave right along side some hay!
needless to say he is in my freezer minus head(makes for some good rattlesnake pizza, plus the skin is going to be nice enough to make a hatband out of! quit skinning and tanning them several years ago but this bad boy was pretty, (if you can call a rattler pretty)
jmho leave it alone, the swelling will go down , weightl loss ! but in a week i would bet that you will be hard pressed to know it was ever bit, but as a precaution keep an eye on it for the next day or so!!
20% of all rattlesnake bites are DRY, the wounds are there minor swelling but that is all. not that i want to be on the end of even a DRY bite!!!
thanks all.... today the swelling does seem to have gone down some ... but good news... vet appt is tomorrow, not the 26th.
We did give her LA200 when we got her in the chute to check out the swelling, so that was a good thing.

It was disappointing to think she had a ruptured naval (plus that I hadn't noticed it before a week ago) but also had to ship one of my bulls because he broke himself last week so I was almost to the point of ... what could happen next....

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