Colorado pet owners, beware: It’s rattlesnake season again

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LONGMONT, Colo. (KDVR) – Dog lover Andre Apodaca found out the hard way, it’s rattlesnake season again in Colorado.

His Saint Bernard, Otis, is just home from the animal hospital, where he was injected with anti-venom and treated with pain medication after an encounter with a rattler.

“He had two bloody fang marks right on the left part of his snout,” Apodaca told FOX31.

Apodaca had taken his dog on a hike at Rabbit Mountain Open Space, about an hour northwest of Denver in Boulder County. With Otis on his leash, they were making their way up the trail when the dog faced trouble.

“Then all the sudden, he kind of jumped back and he freaked out and I kind of freaked out and realized there was something wrong. And he was pawing at his face like he was in pain. He was in shock and didn’t understand what was going on and I didn’t see the snake until after he had been bit, and then immediately realized it was a snake because it was two feet in front of me,” Apodaca said.

This is the time of year, and these are perfect conditions for rattlesnake encounters, according to veterinarians.

“(The season) generally starts around April until October. So during the nicest season is when we tend to see most of the bites,” said Dr. Raffa Corsi, a criticalist at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital. She says bites can be devastating and deadly to dogs, and the anti-venom needed to treat them can cost thousands of dollars. Corsi says if your dog is attacked by a rattler, immediate care is critical. And she warns not to take advice from the internet. She’s actually heard stories of dog owners trying to suck the poisonous venom out of their dog’s fresh wounds.

“Those bite wounds are extremely painful, and so an owner that gets to the area is very likely to get a bite wound from his own dog,” Corsi said.

Apodaca, who rescued Otis a while back, never expected something like this to happen.

“After it happened, the snake had recoiled and brought it’s rattler up, and it was just kind of a surreal experience, because I was born and raised in Colorado and I’ve been hiking my entire life and I’ve actually never seen a rattlesnake on a trail before,” he said.

But he vows their days of exploring Colorado aren’t over. He’ll just keep an extra close eye on where Otis sticks his snout.

“He’s going to be OK. It’s just going to take a few days to recover and we’ll be back hiking as soon as he can,” Apodaca said.

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