CSU and UF recruiting snakebitten dogs for anti-venom studies

Now that summer snakebite season is in full swing, Colorado State University (CSU) and the University of Florida (UF) are each recruiting snake-bitten dogs to find better ways to help dogs overcome snake attacks.

UF is testing a recently available anti-venom formula that combats the effects of pit viper bites, while CSU is researching the physiological impact of rattlesnake bites on dogs, as well as testing an investigational anti-venom. 

University of Florida testing anti-venom for pit viper bites

The University of Florida is conducting a study to test VenomVet, an investigational anti-venom geared toward helping dogs that have been bitten by pit vipers. According to the university, the anti-venom was previously unavailable in the Southeast, but has been successfully used in other parts of the United States, Mexico, and areas of South America.

During the study, the university's College of Veterinary Medicine will give dog owners the opportunity to have their snake-bitten dogs treated with VenomVet at no charge, including a follow-up evaluation after the dog has been discharged from the hospital. Owners will need to pay for other diagnostic and medical expenses as needed. 

To be eligible for the study, dogs must meet the following requirements:

  • Have moderate to severe signs of a pit viper snakebite
  • Have previously not been treated with steroids or other anti-venom
  • Have been brought to the UF Small Animal Hospital emergency service within six hours of the bite

Owners also have the option to have their dogs treated with standard anti-venom, the university said.

For more information about the study, call 352-392-2235 or visit the clinical trial section of the university's website.

Colorado State University seeking rattlesnake bite victims

Colorado State University is studying the effects of rattlesnake venom in dogs' bloodstreams, as well as testing an anti-venom product that was previously unavailable in the area.

According to the university's news release, its veterinary teaching hospital treats about 40 dogs with snakebite wounds each summer. Although they have a 95 percent survival rate, the hospital still hopes to offer bite victims faster recovery, fewer side effects, and fewer lingering health concerns.

"Through this initial trial, we hope to understand venom's impact on clotting function," said Dr. Raegan Wells, emergency and critical-care clinician at CSU's James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "The big dream here is not only to improve treatment, but to also develop ways to utilize the venom therapeutically."

The hospital will also be treating up to 20 study participants with F(ab')2, which the university said is a relatively new and effective anti-venom. CSU's veterinary hospital is the first in northern Colorado to offer F(ab')2, the school reported.

Wells said that during CSU's clinical trial, they will analyze blood clotting in bite victims using thromboelastography to assess coagulation speed, strength, and breakdown.

Visit the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital's website for more information.

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