Rattlesnake envenomation in horses: 58 cases (1992-2009)

C. Langdon Fielding, Nicola Pusterla, K G Magdesian, Jill C. Higgins, Chloe A. Meier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective-To characterize signalment, clinical and laboratory findings, treatment, and outcome in horses with rattlesnake envenomation in northern California. Design-Retrospective case series. Animals-58 client-owned horses evaluated for rattlesnake envenomation at 2 referral hospitals from 1992 to 2009. Procedures-Records of horses with rattlesnake envenomation were reviewed, and data concerning signalment, clinical and laboratory findings, treatment, and outcome were collected. In addition, a rattlesnake-bite severity score (RBSS) was assigned to each horse. Variables were compared between horses that survived and those that did not. Results-The overall mortality rate was 9%. Nine horses received antivenin; no complications were reported and none of the 9 died. The most common laboratory findings associated with severity of envenomation were thrombocytopenia, hypoproteinemia, hyperlactatemia, and a high RBSS. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Most horses in this study had a good prognosis after being bitten by rattlesnakes. Laboratory and clinical examination findings may be useful for identifying horses with a poorer prognosis. Treatment with antivenin may be beneficial and warrants further evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)631-635
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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