Wednesday, October 15, 2014


This isn't one of my horses, thank heavens.  I would be a wreck right now.  But one of the horses in the same corral got bitten on the nose by a rattlesnake during feeding time this afternoon.  I suspect he was probably eating hay off the ground where they like to knock it out of the fence feeder, and the snake was passing through the corral right there in the corner.  The horse probably didn't even see the snake in the hay.

He's in bad shape.  He was having problems breathing, with his face all swelled up like that, and it only got worse.  The halter that is on him in the picture belongs to the largest horse at the barn.  They couldn't get anything else on his face.

The vet had to put a trachea tube in so that he could breathe, and then they hauled him to the hospital.  He'll be there for three to five days to recover, but apparently it could take weeks for the swelling to go away completely.  It's a horrible thing, and he is probably lucky to be alive.  He's lucky it was caught so fast -- the feeding lady had just fed 40 minutes before he was found like this, and he was fine then, so it probably hadn't happened more than 15 minutes before this picture was taken.  That's a lot of swelling in a very short time!

I'm really worried that the snakes could be setting up camp in or near their corral.  There are apparently a lot of wood rats at the barn this year, and that could be attracting the snakes.  The barn's owners (who live closer to this corral than the rest of the barn) apparently killed a rattlesnake in front of their house a month ago.

I'm going out to the barn in the morning to ride, so I'm going to walk the corral and look for snakes.  I'll be careful, of course, but I want to make sure they're not going to make a habit of hanging around and biting horses.



At October 15, 2014 at 2:49 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Poor horse. One of our new neighbors confessed that he's been killing a lot of rattlesnakes. We've been wondering why we haven't been seeing many of them around this year. I was somewhat disappointed that the man was messing with the ecosystem that way, but seeing this reminds me of the damage they can do. I can take precautions to prevent myself from getting bit, but I can't always control what goes on down at the barn.

At October 15, 2014 at 8:51 AM, Blogger Calm, Forward, Straight said...

A couple of pieces of garden hose - cut into six inch lengths, and some vaseline, are a good snakebite kit to keep around.

You slip the hose sections into the nostrils and that will keep the airway open until the vet comes. I only know this because a boarder got bit by a water moccasin here a few years back...

Hoping for a speedy recovery!

At October 15, 2014 at 12:21 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, yes, your neighbor is probably doing you a huge favor! I don't even think of our area as being a big one for rattlesnakes. I don't think I've ever seen one in my entire life. But I guess the wet summer we had meant lots of bugs and vegetation, which in turn means lots of rodents, and on and on up the food chain.

CFS, that's a good idea! I never thought of garden hose for that purpose. Jess is staying calm today, I heard, but no change yet on the swelling. Poor pony can't even eat because his face is so swollen his tongue is blocking his throat and his mouth can't close.

At October 15, 2014 at 12:32 PM, Blogger Calm, Forward, Straight said...

If my boarder was any indication - the swelling takes a long time to subside.

At October 20, 2014 at 1:02 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

The vet said it would be 3-5 days before it would subside enough to eat, but it's been longer than that now and it looks like he won't be able to eat and breathe on his own until the end of the week (more like 10 days). The vet also said it would take weeks for the swelling to go away completely.


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