Photo: Sadie on sofa about a half hour after being bitten by a copperhead.
I hadn’t planned on blogging about copperheads any more for at least a year, but Sadie our son’s family’s rescue pit bull was bitten, so here goes copperheads again.
In previous blogs I’d explained that copperheads congregate in and around our yard at this time of the year to feast on bountiful June bugs and cicadas. Once these insects are mostly finished for the year, about mid-July, the snakes disperse and we see only one every week or so. This is in contrast to the numbers we see at this time of year. It’s not unusual to see a half dozen or more each evening.
As a result of being bitten at least once, our three German Shepherds are cautious during copperhead season. German Shepherds are highly resistant to snake bites. Even rattlesnake bites only cause swelling for maybe 36-48 hours. Poor Oso got his first copperhead bite, on the stomach, when he was only seven weeks old. He was fine in 24 hours. Two females we had previously, sisters Fritzie and Zia, actively hunted and killed copperheads and rattlesnakes. They were bitten many times, only once requiring antibiotics for a secondary infection from a bite. Sadie, however, is new to the farm. Her family, son Carl, daughter-in-law Kathy, and grandchildren Haley and Hannah have recently moved to the farm. They are staying with us until their new home site in our north pasture is ready. That is a drawn-out process due to the massive rains we’ve had. Four years of drought and now we have flooding!
Anyway, Sadie wasn’t cautious and probably didn’t recognize a copperhead as dangerous. She was bitten on her left front paw about 9:00 pm. Within a half hour she was in pain and her leg was swollen to the elbow, as the photo shows. We carefully monitored her condition after giving her a pain pill and anti-inflammation drug. In fact, Kathy sat up with her all night. By the next morning, the swelling was receding and Sadie could limp about on the leg. By afternoon, she was running and playing.
Sadie’s first trip outside after the bite showed she would be cautious in the future. She carefully surveyed the yard before stepping off the porch. Sadie is officially a farm dog now.