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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chinese Medicine- Hot Foods/Cold Foods



Asparagus *
Bean Sprouts *
Bok Choy *
Cauliflower #
Celery *
Cucumber *
Snow peas#
Water chestnuts
White peony root
Banana *
Lemon *
Wheat germ
Clam *
Crab *
White pepper.
Soy sauce*
Sugar cane


Alfalfa sprouts Artichoke
Bamboo *
Bitter Gourd
Broccoli *
Cabbage *
Cook. Lettuce
Cooked Onion
Corn *
Daikon radish
Endive lettuce
Lotus root
Snow Pea#
Soybean* Sprouts

Swiss chard
Black currant

Barley *
Wild rice#
Lima beans
Mung bean
Duck egg +
Duck *

Fresh water snail.
Cilantro leaf
Miso soup
Oolong Tea
Sesame oil


Bell pepper
Cooked Tomato*
Green bean
Green Pepper+
Mustard green
Oyster mushroom *
Sweet potato
Grapes *
Hawthorn fruit
Sweet/glutinous rice#
Black bean
Lotus seed
Pine nut

Eel *
Fresh water fish *
Mussels *
Pig tripe
Sheep+ & goat
Sheep's milk
Bay leaf
Coriander (also known as Chinese parsley or Pak Chee, in Thai.)
Dill seed
Fresh ginger
Brown sugar+
Malt sugar
Black tea
Goats milk
Plum vinegar
Rice vinegar


Green onion
Raw onions
Red pepper
Deep-fried or grilled meat.
Grass fish. *

Smoked Fish +
Black pepper+
Cayenne pepper+
Chili pepper+


Now for a more in depth look at the energetic and medicinal properties of food in TCM:

Nightshades= Blue (Inflammatory, can cause heat and allergies)

Do not feed to dogs = orange

Hormone or Inflammation adjuster = Green

Lectin Binder/ Low Lectin = Purple


Yin Foods: *

(Manifestation, magnetism, down, IN, COLD, WET, dark, earth, metal, female, passive and resting, dull)

Yang Foods: +

(Potential, electricity, UP, OUT, HOT, DRY, light, sun, wood, fire, male, activity)

Neutral Foods: #

Vaccination Information... why every pet owner should own this book!


Vaccine Guide for Dogs and Cats. What Every Pet Owner Should Know by Catherine J.M. Diodati, MA

Vaccine Ingredients:

“… All vaccines contain antigens (i.e. viruses, bacteria, or toxins secreted by bacteria), relevant to the disease they are meant to prevent. … Antigens are generally grown and propagated in a feasible culture media, such as bovine fetal serum or upon host tissues derived from certain animals. (… The use of bovine fetal serum in vaccines provides a potentially significant means of transmission {of BSE “Mad Cow Disease”} both to animals and humans). Vaccine antigens are not supposed to be able to cause disease, but as repeated experience has shown, they can remain virulent in the final preparation. They ARE capable of causing disease both in the vaccine and the contacts.

One disinfectant that is commonly used to kill vaccine antigens is formaldehyde (formalin). The use of this extremely toxic and carcinogenic chemical has persisted despite many historical lessons demonstrating its inadequacy. Simply put, it doesn’t always work. Instead of inactivating the antigens, the formaldehyde may instead harden the outer gelatinous debris of clumped proteins, leaving the antigens inside untouched. When this unnatural chemical amalgam enters the body, enzymes digest the hardened out portion, freeing the fully virulent particles to enter cells, replicate and cause disease.

… Vaccines also contain a variety of chemicals intended to prevent contamination by extraneous microorganisms. They may include antibiotics and other additives such as mercury or phenol. Adjuvants such as aluminum salts or gels may be used to prolong the immune response.”

“Kennel cough and infectious tracheobronchitis are general terms used to describe canine respiratory illnesses that can result from a variety of viruses, bacteria, or mycoplasma…. Dogs may experience anything from a dry mild cough to a retching cough…. Depending upon the animal’s age, stress factors, environmental ventilation, nutrition and healthy status, there may be additional signs. … Although the disease may persist for up to 20 days, the severity of the cough will begin to diminish within the first 5 days.

Kennel cough is highly contagious and spread rapidly, particularly in enclosed environments where many dogs are housed. For this reason, hospitalization is not advisable. Treatment largely consists of good general care including proper nutrition and hygiene, and avoiding extreme temperature, ventilation, or humidity variations. Since the disease is ordinarily self-limiting, most dogs will recover very well without further intervention. Extremely ill dogs may be given cough suppressants or antibiotics, but they are rarely indicated. If the infecting pathogen is viral in nature, the use of antibiotics is useless at best and will unnecessarily burden the dog’s immune systems. The efficacy of antibiotics, even for the bacterial Bordetella bronchisptica, is quite limited, and may increase the potential of antibiotic-resistance while doing nothing to improve the dog’s condition. This apr├Ęs to be particularly true of systemic treatment because the antibiotic will not even reach the bacteria. Aerosol antibiotic treatment also is of questionable value since it reduces bacterial densities in the trachea and bronchi only temporarily and may cause labored breathing. If an antibiotic is indicated, it should be chosen based upon the results of specific culture and sensitivity tests.

The first Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccines were whole cell, inactivated, parenteral (injectable) vaccines. They were not well accepted by veterinarians due to their high reaction rates. Dogs often experienced swelling and tissue damage at the injection site, and the vaccine was known to cause fatal anaphylactic shock depending upon the concentration of the antigen.

Canine parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica combined vaccines have been available since the 1970’s. They contain either modified live parainfluenza and inactivated B. bronchiseptica antigens for the parenteral vaccine or modified live antigens for the intranasal vaccine. Dogs vaccinated parenterally are still quite capable of infecting other susceptible dogs. A parenterally vaccinated dog becomes a potential source of infection for every dog he meets, for a period of time, whether vaccinated or not. The intranasal vaccine is considered protective after one dose whereas the parenteral vaccine requires two doses and tends to cause local reactions. Differences in efficacy between the two types results from each vaccine’s ability, or lack thereof, to elicit necessary mucosal immunity.

… The parenteral vaccine has been associated with anaphylactic (life-threatening allergic) reactions. The intranasal vaccine has been linked with upper respiratory illnesses. Inadvertent injection of the intranasal vaccine is known to cause liver failure. In one case, for example, a fox terrier was injected with the intranasal parinfluenza B. bronchiseptica vaccine and developed a local reaction- necrosis (tissue death)- degeneration of the liver, thrombocytopenia, as well as a variety of other abnormalities.

Typically, Kennel Cough presents only a mild, self-limiting disease that is easily manageable with basic supportive care. Since the vaccines have a tendency to CAUSE various reactions, not to mention infection itself, one would be well-advised to weigh whether vaccination provides any real benefit.”

Synthetic Ingredients in Pet Food

The Problem with Synthetic Ingredients in Your Pets’ Food & Treats

Nature created vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and beneficial bacteria’s to work synergistically to support life. These essential nutrients are balanced and complementary in natural, whole, raw foods. The body combines nutrients to create additional nutrients that are necessary for life and may be lacking in individual foods. Modern science has not uncovered the process to mimic nature’s ability to synthesize crucially synergistic life-like activity in man-made nutrients.

Chemically synthesized nutrients might be contributing to, or outright causing, our pets’ health problems through toxicities, deficiencies, contamination's and lack of research and testing. In the past 5 years alone the pet food industry has recalled millions of dollars of pet foods contaminated with overdoses of synthetic Zinc Oxide, Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Melamine. (Settlements for these recalls have exceeded $25,000,000.00.) These overdoses are known to cause problems such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, hypercalcemia, liver and/or kidney failure, pancreatic changes, cervical spondylosis, spinal deterioration or improper growth, death, etc.

The National Research Council & AAFCO (the corporation’s responsible for determining nutritional standards for pet consumables) experts admit, “Knowledge of nutrient requirements & toxicities (of synthetic supplements) is incomplete and/or imprecise in many cases.” (AAFCO) and, “The current scientific literature, however, is not complete enough to support the estimation of maximum tolerable levels for any (synthetic) vitamin. In most cases, however, one can use the literature to estimate ranges of vitamin intake that can be presumed to be safe.” (NRC) They also admit that, “it may represent a virtually unexplored area when two or more synthetic mineral elements are present at high levels.” Most consumable pet products far exceed potentially unsafe levels of synthetics.

Your awareness and ability to purchase foods, treats and supplements with no synthetics ingredients can help keep your pet be healthier and happier. There are many whole foods and synthetic free options available for your pets’ foods, treats and chews.

Hero’s Pets can help you navigate safer whole food options for your pet needs. See our ad above for our address and contact information. Article written by Chelsea Kent.

Digestive Enzymes and your pets' health

Digestive enzymes: The first line of defense

Raw foods are healthier than cooked foods because they provide the body with a balance of non-synthetic vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes that work synergistically to support body at optimum levels of health and well-being. Cooking foods destroys many of these naturally occurring ingredients, which decreases the productivity of the digestive tract and causes imbalances in the system. Supplementation of whole food vitamins and enzymes can help prevent the aging effects that cooked foods have on our pets bodies.

Enzymes are necessary for the breakdown of foods, detoxification of the body and hundreds of other metabolic reasons. Adding digestive enzyme supplements to your pets’ diet can assist your pets’ body by replenishing the enzymes that help process fats, carbohydrates and protein, easing the burden placed on the digestive system. The prebiotic, FOS, feeds the native bacteria that naturally replenish these essential enzymes.

Signs of poor digestive health in dogs and cats include:

-bad breath


-increased stool volume


-excessive shedding, itching and allergies.

Not all enzyme supplements are created equal. Many supplements are made with fillers such as lactose, sugar or preservatives which may increase digestive upset. Many supplements are also manufactured with inadequate levels of prebiotics and probiotics, decreasing the effectiveness of the product. It is important to have Fructo-oligosaccharides added to the enzyme supplement to provide food for the naturally-occurring intestinal flora in conjunction with the enzymes. Also, many digestive enzyme supplements are extremely bitter in taste and difficult to get your pet to agree to eating.

Hero’s Pets recommends In Clover Optagest for ideal health and benefit. It is virtually tasteless, free of all fillers and preservatives, clinically proven to have sufficient levels of enzymes and FOS, and is made in Boulder, CO.

How to properly care for your pets' food

Proper Care & handling of pet food

It’s quite easy to forsake common sense for convenience, especially when it comes to food, specifically pet food. Bad habits are born of ignorance but thankfully a little education can go a long way to break them.

It's my goal to help you break the bad habits of convenience without making your feel like a bad parent.

First, keep in mind that your animal companion's food is just as perishable as your own. After you purchase your pets’ food it is important to remember that, like a loaf of bread, just because it comes in a bag and has an expiration day a year or so long, doesn’t mean it lasts on your home shelf for that long. The expiration is how long the food is good for BEFORE it is opened, while it is still in an oxygen barrier bag. As soon as you open the bag it is exposed to oxygen and begins to degrade. Natural foods do not contain heavy, toxic chemical preservatives and must be treated how you would treat your own food.

-Do not leave the bag open and exposed to air after opening it.
-Do not store the food in the sunlight.
-Do not let the food get wet and if it does get wet, throw it away.
-Do not keep the food past expiration even if you do not open it.
-Do not throw the bag away. Even if you store it in an airtight container you MUST keep the batch code.
-Do not poor in your new food before the old food is COMPLETELY gone unless you poor out the old food and put it ON TOP OF the new food. You cannot return foods without the bag and the company cannot test the food if your pet gets sick without the bag.
-Do not accidentally let your pet get into the bin and binge eat. Especially higher quality pet foods are designed with calories packed into every cup so you don't have to feed as much. A 50lb dog that gets into a food storage bin and free feeds can literally eat as many as 55,000 calories in one binge. That can lead to bloat (which can kill your pet if not noticed within 30-45 minutes and requires a VERY expensive trip to the vet if you do catch it in time), obesity, diarrhea, constipation, and other health problems. Make sure your bin has a secure top to keep out your dog, other animals, insects and mice. Also make sure it is stored in a secure location such as on a shelf or in a room with a door that closes on it's own (especially in homes with young children)

-Feed the food within 30-45 days of opening the bag.
-Throw away what you don’t use by that time.
-KEEP THE BAG (which includes the barcode, expiration date and batch code) until all the food is gone.
-Store the food in an airtight container (preferably still in the original bag inside the airtight container).
-Store the food in a cool and dry place.
-Rinse the container between EVERY use (oils that have perforated your container eventually go rancid and contaminate new food.)
-If the bag of food you purchase doesn't fit in your container then line the food bin with an airtight bag (or put in an empty bag from a previous purchase), poor in what WILL fit and keep the rest either in its original bag, tightly sealed in a cool, dry place until it will fit in the bin OR (better yet) put the remainder of the food that doesn’t fit in your airtight container in zip lock bags in your freezer and remove them as needed (making sure to cut the barcode, batch code and expiration date off the original bag and tape it onto a storage bag) OR purchase smaller bags (you may spend more per pound but you spend less at the vet because the health effects of eating rancid food are not good)

Pet Food Myths:
“You should only feed your dog or cat food labeled specific to their age group or breed”
– False.

You should choose your pets’ food based on not only their age, but their current weight, activity level and health issues. If your 5 month old puppy/kitten is too heavy then puppy food is a poor dietary choice as it is higher in fat and protein. If your 12 year old dog/cat is still active and at a good weight senior food is a poor dietary choice as senior foods help reduce weight for slower metabolisms. High quality formulas generally don’t list their foods to be age specific because of differences in breed and metabolisms. Similarly, if your senior pet is diabetic and overweight switching to a low fat, senior diet can often increase the need for insulin and is a poor dietary choice for lowering the weight of your diabetic pet. Please email, come in, or call for assistance if you’re not sure what to feed.

“You should feed a senior or joint care food to older pets or pets with arthritis”
– False.
There is no such thing as a kibble with sufficient levels of glucosamine and chondroitin to dramatically benefit your dogs’ or cats’ joints. While many pet foods add glucosamine and chondroitin it is generally a small enough quantity to only be adequate for pets without existing joint conditions, such as for maintenance and active pups, but if you need a “joint care” or “arthritis” food you must use a quality, concentrated supplement or raw food for pets with existing conditions. Please email, come in, or call for assistance on determining what is the best supplement for your pet.

"You should start supplementing your pet with glucosamine and chondroitin when they are 4-8 years old... or when they start to show visual symptoms of joint pain."

Glucosamine and Chondroitin are naturally found in cartilage and other natural sources. On a natural, raw diet all carnivores and omnivores get these "supplements" with every meal from the day they are born to the day they die. Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM rebuild the tissue matrix that surrounds the joints and keeps the body strong. These are the things that keep ligaments and tendons from degrading over time and "suffering from old age." Because they are natural ingredients of raw food anything the body doesn't use just get's flushed out so they can't overdose. It is important to start giving your pet joint care supplements at a young age unless you are feeding a raw diet. (And by raw I DON'T mean purchasing raw meats and foods from the grocery store to feed to your pet. I absolutely don't recommend that under any circumstances)

“You must feed your pet a dry food to keep his/her teeth clean”
– False.

There is no food that will adequately clean your dogs’ teeth. Assuming that dry dog food will clean teeth is like assuming toast will clean your teeth because it’s harder than bread. Some formulas use harder kibbles to increase the chew time of each kibble and “clean your pets’ teeth” but you would still brush your teeth to clean them over chewing a handful of nuts everyday. There are many supplements available to ease the burden of everyday brushing and benefit breath and the digestive tract (most bad breath is caused by intestinal bacteria) but it is still best to brush the teeth as often as possible as dental bacteria can lead to heart, kidney and liver failure (and large vet bills). Hero’s P.e.t.s. also has Anesthesia Free Teeth Cleanings. Email, come in, or call for more information.

Hero’s P.e.t.s.

(Planetary & Ecologically Trusted Supplies)

8086 W. Bowles Ave, Unit N

Littleton, CO 80123


Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams

What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically.

Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family.

Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.

Yams are closely related to lilies and grasses. Native to Africa and Asia, yams vary in size from that of a small potato to a record 130 pounds (as of 1999). There are over 600 varieties of yams and 95% of these crops are grown in Africa. Compared to sweet potatoes, yams are starchier and drier.
Yams are a good source of Vitamin B6, which is needed by the body to break down a substance called homocysteine, which can directly damage blood vessel walls. Yams are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure.

Sweet Potatoes
The many varieties of sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are members of the morning glory family, Convolvulacea. The skin color can range from white to yellow, red, purple or brown. The flesh also ranges in color from white to yellow, orange, or orange-red. Sweet potato varieties are classified as either ‘firm’ or ‘soft’. When cooked, those in the ‘firm’ category remain firm, while ‘soft’ varieties become soft and moist. It is the ‘soft’ varieties that are often labeled as yams in the United States.

Sweet potatoes are packed with massive amounts of vitamin A, a nutrient considered critical in maintaining proper eye health. The sweet potato contains several other vitamins and minerals in amounts not found in the lowly yam. Compared to yams, sweet potatoes contain significantly higher amounts of calcium, iron, and vitamin E, and they twice as much protein per serving.

Why the confusion?
In the United States, firm varieties of sweet potatoes were produced before soft varieties. When soft varieties were first grown commercially, there was a need to differentiate between the two. African slaves had already been calling the ‘soft’ sweet potatoes ‘yams’ because they resembled the yams in Africa. Thus, ‘soft’ sweet potatoes were referred to as ‘yams’ to distinguish them from the ‘firm’ varieties.

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires labels with the term ‘yam’ to be accompanied by the term ‘sweet potato.’ Unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!


Astragalus, Royal Jelly and Allergy Management


Hay fever (Allergic rhinitis) and conjunctivitis, (inflammation of the eyelid) are the most common manifestations of allergic reactions. Seasonal allergic rhinitis is caused by an allergic reaction to pollens and spores which are carried by the wind. Some of these sources would be ragweed, grass pollen, tree pollen and fungus. In addition to individual sensitivity and geographic differences in local plant populations, the amount of pollen in the air can be a factor in whether hay fever symptoms develop. Hot, dry, windy days are more likely to have increased amounts of pollen in the air than cool, damp, rainy days when most pollen is washed to the ground. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis resemble a cold, but they are not caused by a virus. When you inhale an allergen, your immune system springs into action, releasing substances known as IgEs into your nasal passages, along with inflammatory chemicals such as histamines. Your nose, sinuses, or eyes may become itchy and congested. Scientists aren't sure what causes your immune system to overreact to an allergen.

Astragalus is a plant native to Asia and has been valued by the Chinese for centuries for its immune-enhancing and adaptogenic properties. As an adaptogen, it may modify and improve the body's response to stress through action on the adrenal cortex. Experiments have reported that Astragalus promotes regeneration of cells in the bronchi after viral infection. Astragalus can be safely taken for months without the risk of suppressing immunologic function. It is often used as a gentle and effective remedy for seasonal hay fever and other allergies.

Note: Astragalus should not be used to individuals currently on immunosuppressive medications.


Royal Jelly contains every essential nutrient necessary to support vital mammalian metabolic functions.

Royal jelly is considered to be one of the nature’s most valuable gifts. This substance is produced by honeybees, and is the exclusive food for the worker bees for the first three days of their life only, but for the entire life of the queen bee. The queen bee is known to live up to 40 times longer than any other hive member… in some cases she’ll live to eight years of age. The only difference between the queen bee and other bees is her nutrition. This fact has led many scientists to research and share the amazing nutritive qualities of the only food she consumes… royal jelly.

Royal jelly has 22 amino acids, including essential aminos, which makes it a complete protein. It offers beta glucans, unsaturated fatty acids, B vitamins, and enzymes.

Royal jelly supplies the required daily nutrients with high biologic value, and in perfect balance. It can be used on prophylactic basis to prevent illness, and adrenal disorders, and on a medicinal basis to aid in recovery from trauma, injury, or diseased states.

Stop by Hero’s Pets to pick up an organic Astragalus and Royal Jelly supplement, and any additional allergy supplementation needed. See our ad above for contact information and location. We are on the Southeast corner of Wadsworth and Bowles.

Article written by Retta Dunn

Why is my pet so anxious???

Why is my dog so anxious?!?!?!?!?

Many environmental and emotional factors can trigger an anxious episode in a family pet. Separation from family, loud noises, other animals, new places, and children are common triggers, to name a few. Many pet owners are left frustrated and saddened by the miscommunication between pet and owner when trying to deal with these issues. These times can feel overwhelming when it begins to affect your social or personal life and you can’t figure out how to solve the problem. So how is someone supposed to handle an anxious pet?

In your dogs mind, there are several factors that contribute to what, to them, feels like a complete loss of control. Most dogs that are high anxiety need someone, a pack leader, to tell them what to do in times of trouble. Teaching your dog simple commands such as “watch me”, “Sit”, “Down”, “Stay” and other tricks can help focus your pets attention from their anxiety to a task. Additional tasks such as interactive play and chew bones can also give your pet an alternate focus. In some cases even distractions such as playing a radio or television on higher volume can help decrease anxiety, especially in cases of loud noise anxiety.

The sad side effect of some vaccinations is anxiety as well. Often times a vaccine detox will decrease behavioral changes after vaccinating your furry friends.

In extreme cases herbs can be helpful in getting your pet through the really rough times or through initial anxiety training. Herbs such as Valerian, Skullcap, Chamomile, and Kava Kava are often inexpensive and helpful, with no side effects. Bach Flowers such as Rescue Remedy or Pet Essences are also great tools for anxious pets, as well as homeopathic remedies including Aconitum and Chamomilla. However, remember that no matter what internal calming agent you use for your pet it will never last as long as training your pet will. It is important to find a trainer that fits within you and your pets comfort zone that can work with you SPECIFICALLY on anxiety behavior. It is also important to work with an herbalist or veterinarian that is knowledgeable about herbs as some herbs can contribute to allergies or other health problems in pets with existing health conditions.

For more information/assistance stop by Hero’s Pets. 8086 w. Bowles Ave, Unit N. Littleton, CO 80123 (303) 972.1926

Rabies Vaccinations: How to vaccinate safely

Rabies is the ONLY vaccination that is mandatory in the state of Colorado. You are not required to have additional vaccinations administered and you should NEVER vaccinate a pet that is in less than perfect health.

Rabies Vaccination: 13 Ways to Vaccinate More Safely

Peaches Displaying Her Rabies Vaccine Reaction

Note: this is an expanded version of an article by Jan Rasmusen previously published by

Animal Control sends a notice stating that your dog’s rabies vaccination is due. Some of us will vaccinate readily. Because it’s legally mandated, it must be safe, right? Besides, what choice do we have?

Others of us panic, desperate to avoid the shot at any cost. We remember what happened the last time our dog had a rabies vaccination. We wonder, will our dog survive another?

World-renowned pet vaccination scientist, Dr. Jean Dodds, wrote recently: “Rabies vaccines are the most common group of biological products identified in adverse event reports received by the USDA’s Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB).”

An adverse reaction to a rabies vaccine may exact a high price – to your dog’s health and your wallet. Here’s what you need to know to make vaccinating your dog safer:

1. Learn to recognize adverse reactions. Short-term reactions include vomiting, facial swelling, fever, lethargy, circulatory shock, loss of consciousness and even death. (If your pet appears distressed, contact your vet immediately.) Reactions occurring days or months after vaccination can be difficult to recognize. They include:

• Fibrocarcinomas (cancer) at the injection site

• Seizures and epilepsy

• Autoimmune disease

• Chronic digestive problems

• Allergies

• Skin diseases

• Muscle weakness or atrophy

• Pica (eating inappropriate materials, including feces)

• Behavioral changes (aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors and more)

If you suspect a health or behavior problem may be connected to a vaccine, you may have to convince your vet. It’s common to hear “it couldn’t be the shot” or “a reaction like that is impossible.” Even the drug’s manufacturer (to whom you should immediately report the reaction — giving them the brand and lot# — may deny the connection. Insist on seeing the product’s package insert, viewable on-line or from your vet. Also know that long-term reactions aren’t usually documented or even studied. Note: a vaccine reaction, especially one supported by your vet, may entitle you to compensation for medical expenses from the drug manufacturer.

2. Vaccinate healthy dogs only. Vaccinating an unhealthy animal can exacerbate illness and do irreparable harm. Also, immunity may not develop after vaccination because of the dog’s compromised immune system. This is especially dangerous as you may presume immunity that does not exist. Pets with autoimmune disease or cancer are obviously “not healthy,” but neither are pets suffering from stress from a move or surgery, a virus or infection, or allergies or skin problems or any other condition compromising health. (Never allow your pet to be vaccinated during surgery.)

3. Ask for a rabies vaccination exemption. If your dog has documented health problems, ask your vet to apply for a rabies vaccination extension or exemption. Many localities permit them even if state law doesn’t specifically allow them. If your vet won’t apply for an exemption, go elsewhere. You may want to contact a holistic vet who may better understand the dangers of vaccinating an unhealthy animal. If local law forbids exemptions, change the law. Numerous states are in the process of adding exemptions to their laws. Click this link to check your state’s rabies law and pending exemptions.

4. Don’t vaccinate against rabies within three weeks of other vaccinations or medication for parasites. Multiple vaccines given at once greatly increase the chance of reactions. Multiple vaccines are especially risky for small dogs.

5. Make sure your dog gets the correct vaccine. If you’re vaccinating a puppy, make sure your vet administers a one-year vaccine initially (as late as legally possible) and a three-year vaccine (or whatever is required in your area) thereafter. The one-year and three-year vaccines are virtually identical medically – but not under the law. A one-year shot must be followed by re-vaccination a year later. Note: the one-year shot is not safer than the three-year (except that it may contain fewer adjuvants).

6. Vaccinate at the safest time. Vaccinate in the morning, early in the week, and don’t leave the area for at least an hour if possible. Watch for reactions for at least the next 48 hours. Reactions occurring when the closest vet’s office is closed can prove disastrous, even fatal.

7. Tell your vet you want a Thimerosol-free vaccine. Thimerosol (mercury) in vaccines has been linked to adverse reactions. Merial, for one, makes one- and three-year thimersol-free rabies vaccines: IMRAB® 1 TF and IMRAB® 3 TF. Make sure you see “TF” on the label. (If your vet doesn’t carry the vaccine, you may have to vet shop to find the vaccine you want. You might also ask why the vet why he/she doesn’t carry it.)

8. Find a vet trained in homeopathy to vaccinate your dog. Certain homeopathic remedies given before, during and after vaccinating can lessen the chance of ill effects from vaccination. Click the link to find vet referral lists.

9. Report all vaccine reactions to your vet and make sure they’re recorded in your pet’s file. Have the vet sign relevant pages, get copies and put them in a safe place. (Vets lose records, retire and move away.) Also report the reaction to the drug’s manufacturer. (You’ll need the vaccine lot number.) Vets are notoriously bad at reporting reactions, but exemptions to rabies vaccination and drug safety require documentation.

10. Don’t vaccinate within a week of travel. Pets experiencing reactions on route can die for lack of immediate medical assistance. (Find a list of emergency clinics by area at (I cannot guarantee the clinics’ expertise, but at least this is a place to start.)

11. Keep copies of vaccination records and titer tests in your car(s) and license tags on your dog’s collar or harness. Otherwise, you may be forced to re-vaccinate if your pet bites someone, runs away and is taken to a shelter or if you have to board your pet unexpectedly.

12. Do not administer a rabies vaccine yourself. It will not satisfy legal requirements and you’ll have to have a vet vaccinate again. You will also be unprepared to deal with a potentially life-threatening reaction. Similarly, a vet’s office may likely be a safer place to get the vaccine than a mobile clinic.

13. Support the Rabies Challenge Fund. World-renowned scientists, W. Jean Dodds, DVM, and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD, are working as volunteers to increase the interval between rabies boosters by proving that the vaccine gives immunity, first, for five years, and then for seven years. (The study is in year four now.) They’re also working to establish a blood “titer standard” to provide a scientific basis to avoid unnecessary boosters with a simple blood test. This nonprofit group is supported solely by dog lovers and dog groups.

Before the next notice from Animal Control arrives, do your homework. A little time spent learning about the rabies vaccine can mean the difference between your dog’s wellness and serious illness.


Get Our DVD: W. Jean Dodds, DVM and Ronald D. Schultz, PhD spoke at our Safer Pet Vaccination Benefit Seminar in March. A DVD of the event will be available shortly. Sign up for more information at . Learn more about rabies vaccination at and about vaccination in general at and at .

Don’t forget to sign up for this blog and our free newsletter, due out soon.

Read more about Peaches and her skin disease caused by rabies vaccine reaction (called Ischemic Dermatopathy ).

Colorado Leash Laws

I had a request to write about Colorado Leash Laws. After some research I came up with a lot of links and a remaining level of confusion. Here are the basics of what I found with a following list of links that might be helpful:

-Colorado State does not have any state-wide leash laws.
-Individual counties within Colorado State may or may not have existing leash laws.
-Jefferson and Denver counties do have leash laws
-Arapahoe county seems to not have leash laws
-If you would like to let your dog off ANYWHERE then you should either check online ahead of time to verify the leash laws within the county that you will be in. Also, you should check to see if the area is authorized to have dogs at all. For example, some hiking trails don't allow dogs at all, leashed or not (such as Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs).
-Many counties offer off-leash dog parks.
-If you are caught with your dog off leash in a county that does have leash laws you are likely to get fined $50.00, and $50.00 for each additional offense, with a possible $300.00 fine for multiple violations.
-It appears that many counties "Require that dogs and other pet animals be under control at all times and define "control", which may vary from time to time, place to place, and animal to animal". So I guess that if your dog is under perfect voice "control" it is still up to the officer to decide whether or not you deserve a ticket in that county, depending on which county you're in. (This is all very vague... I'm sorry)
-If you are going to walk your dog off leash and risk the ticket, at least make sure they are registered so you don't get fined for that as well.

Please remember that having your dog on a leash at all times CAN serve many purposes. For example, if your pet is charged by an aggressive domestic or wild animal or is presented with some other physical obstacle or accident a leash and harness could potentially allow you to remove or retrieve your pet from a harmful situation more quickly (or at all).

Also, if your pet is within visual distance of you, you are more likely to notice if your pet finds something tasty and dangerous/poisonous on the ground and eats it.
Even well trained pets can be distracted by sudden moving objects such as cats, rabbits, squirrels, etc. A fast moving object might cause your well trained dog to have a lapse in judgment and run out into oncoming traffic.

Dogs don't always notice certain dangers that are right in front of their nose... such as salt used to melt ice (which can burn their paws and later, when they lick their paws, ingesting it could potentially cause health problems), or thin ice, sharp objects like glass, etc. Keeping your dog on a leash allows you to make a last minute pull to stop your dog from stepping on something that is dangerous. (I had to do this once with my dog during a hike when we came upon a rattlesnake. If she hadn't been on the leash it would have bit her right on the nose... no kidding.)

Here are some links for you to reference if you are considering not using a leash for your dog:
"Does my state have a leash law" per state chart with pet control and licensing rules per state.
Jefferson County Sherriff Leash Laws Booklet with contact information for Animal Shelters and more
Jefferson County Animal Control contact and licensing and rules
Jefferson County pet violations and fines
Jefferson County Open Space Rules and Regulations
Official Colorado Off Leash Dog Parks and Training Grounds
Interesting article about Arapahoe County Leash and Vicious dog rules
Arapahoe County Animal Control with links

NOTE: Incorporate the cost of training into the overall cost of your pet, as training is a necessity... 70% of domestic pets end up in shelters due to insufficient training. Training is not just for your pet, it is for you... you must understand the messages you are sending your pet because they don't always perceive your actions the way you mean them. Also, not all trainers are equal. Petsmart and Petco training is more like socialization training. Some trainers style will clash with your beliefs or desires. INTERVIEW your trainer before committing or paying... find one that you feel comfortable with. Hero's Pets can recommend many great trainers.

Dogs and the Holidays... keeping them safe

The Holidays and Dogs-
• Cooked bones are very brittle, and splintered pieces can perforate their intestines and/or lodge in your pets gums, requiring veterinary care to prevent infection/abscess or even death. Holiday leftovers need to go into the fridge or animal-proof trash cans as soon as the meal is over.
• Some human food is very unhealthy for animals, such as cooked bones, pies, meat gristle, onions, grapes and chocolate (etc). If you would like your pet to "join in" on your Holiday meal(s) feed Weruva or Tiki Dog Canned "Funky Chunky" or "North Shore Luau", or a properly prepared and sized 'raw' diet designed for pets, such as Primal or Nature's Logic (NEVER feed your pet grocery store, human meat raw. It is likely to contain large amounts of dangerous bacterias. Only feed raw that is designed for pets and is not intended to be cooked). Monitor your dog while he is chewing bones. You know your dog best, and can evaluate his bone chewing responsibility level best. If you question whether or not your pet can responsibly chew a bone, place your dog in a kennel with the bone in the same room as you. This will help prevent potential choking hazards and aggression with guests, children and other pets. Do not feed your pets your "leftovers" after holiday meals because your leftovers are the parts you deemed unsatisfactory for consumption. If you it's know unsatisfactory for you then it's probably not good for your pet either.
• Many color dyes in wrapping paper can be toxic and can make dogs and cats sick. Also, wrapping tape can potentially get stuck in your pets throat. Make sure all paper is picked up and stored in pet safe containers.
• Increased stress can cause people to become annoyed/upset with their pets, treating them differently than usual, which in turn causes unnecessary stress to the animal. Stressed people often leave their pets unattended. Unattended pets are bored pets and bored pets get into trouble. Kennel your pet inside your home, make reservations at a reputable boarding kennel, take your dog to daycare or hire a dog walker/sitter if you are too stressed out to exercise or spend relaxed time with your pet. Also, pets are likely to have increased levels of stress around people that have been drinking, as people can potentially treat pets differently when they've been drinking. The Canine Psychology Center ( will tend to your dog with 24 hour, in-home care while you are celebrating your holidays.
• Gifts, especially children toys, are very inviting to dogs. The holiday season is a time when many people find that their dog has a problem deciphering between their own toys and a child's new toys that may have small parts or metal parts that can get stuck in a dog's throat or cause tearing of the thin tissue inside the dog's mouth and throat. To help your pet decipher between what is his and what isn't, trying placing all your pets toys in a "toy box", and only allow your pet to play with toys that go in and come out of that bin. Also, try pet chew deterrent sprays (My favorite is Tropicleans Stay Away). These sprays can be placed on other objects, such as childrens toys, furniture, etc, to prevent your pet from mistaking them for his own. If your pet is particularly stubborn and doesn't "get the point", try disciplining the object that your pet is interested in. Don't make a point of actively involving your pet in this... just watching will be enough for your pet to want no part of that object. Take the object and pretend you are mad at it... stomp at/on it, yell at it, just be angry at it. Do NOT yell at your pet. Your pet is already stressed out during the holidays, just let your pet watch and that should be enough for them to "get the point". If you WANT your pet to unwrap their own presents, consider wrapping them with newspaper or other packing paper (or even paper bags) and using hemp string, rather then tape, to hold it shut to ensure digestibility and safety.
Also, consider purchasing only natural and earth-friendly toys (like the ones sold at Hero's P.e.t.s) because even your pets toys can be toxic. Watch this news brief about toxic pet toys;jsessionid=DDC4EC56C3D22DAC7C9AF76ED40FD51F?contentId=5125507&version=2&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=1.1.1&sflg=1
New Year's Eve –
• Fireworks, as you know, cause many animals, wild and domestic, to become very stressed out, sometimes running out in the road and getting hit by a car. Some dogs even like to attack fireworks causing serious burns and eye injuries/loss. Kennel your dog inside your home or make reservations at a reputable boarding kennel. ( ) Hero's Pets also carries the Thundershirt to help with anxiety. If you are in your home with your pet where it is safe and your pet is nervous, try playing music, playing with a laser, ball or doing some other fun activity that will take your pets mind/ears off of the noise.
• Drunk drivers are a serious problem for everyone, but are more prevalent on New Year's Eve. Be sure to take extra special care for yourself and your pet around roads during the holidays. Also, seat belting your pet in your vehicle can prevent many injuries in the event of an accident. Your chance of death increases by 40% if someone, including your pet, is not buckled up in the back seat because they may become a projectile into you. Also, if your pet is ejected from the car (and survives) they are likely to be scared and in shock. If this happens they may run into moving traffic and get hit by another car, or they will make it virtually impossible for an emergency worker or helpful passer-by to catch and help them. In such serious and terrifying events your dog may also bite someone, leaving you with a ticket and/or possible mandatory euthanasia. Seat belt your pets, for their safety and for yours.

Kids & Dogs during the Holidays
Kids and dogs play, that's what they do! There's nothing more adorable than a young child playing with his gentle, loving dog or new Christmas puppy. It is adorable, but not always a good idea with certain dogs. Remember, dogs are pack animals and live by a very strict social order. Us humans are also pack oriented, and have our own proper social order, but dogs and humans have completely different psychologies that make us think at a different level. The problem comes when the family owns a dog or puppy that doesn't view them as any kind of a pack leader. Children are too small physically and don't understand mentally that they should be seen as pack leaders by their dogs and believe it or not, most parents don't even know this crucial fact. However, in a dog pack only members of the same basic age and 'rank' play with one another. Pack leaders don't play, as they have an important job to do and that's protect the pack and keep that strict social order in tact. So, when we allow our children to play physically with our dogs we are literally teaching our dogs to treat all kids with disrespect. Do your research on each breed of dog, as well as the energy level of a potential canine addition to your family and choose an animal that will not be so dominant with children. Incorporate the cost of training into the overall cost of your pet, as training is a necessity... 70% of domestic pets end up in shelters due to insufficient training. Training is not just for your pet, it is for you... you must understand the messages you are sending your pet because they don't always perceive your actions the way you mean them. Also, not all trainers are equal. Petsmart and Petco training is more like socialization training. Some trainers style will clash with your beliefs or desires. INTERVIEW your trainer before committing or paying... find one that you feel comfortable with. Hero's Pets can recommend several great trainers.
If you are considering giving a loved one, or asking for, a new puppy as a Christmas present please consider giving or asking for a gift certificate to a breeder or all natural pet supply shop (so they can purchase necessities for their new pet) rather then an actual pet. That way people can develop a bond with the right pet and prevent any animal's admittance into the local shelter when the unprepared new owner realizes that they didn't make the proper physical, as well as mental, preparations to receive the new puppy or to let them know ahead of time in case they are simply not ready to have a puppy at this time – you will then have enough time to think of another gift that might be more appropriate.

Traveling with your pet

Traveling with your pet
With the holidays here we are all considering what to do with our pets when we go out of town. Whether we are boarding our pets, hiring pet sitters to come to or stay at our house, having family watch our pet or otherwise, there are things we can do to make our pets more comfortable and happy while we're gone.
Supplementation: No one wants to drug their pet with prescription sedatives during travel or times of stress. Fortunately there are herbal calming supplements available for your pets. If you would like something to help your pet relax consider Pet Essences remedies (such as Anxiety/Fear, Travel, Loneliness/Home Alone, etc), Happy Tails Sleepytime Tonic, Naturvet Quiet Moments or Animals Apawthecary Tranquility Blend.
Other recommendations:
-Sleep- in a t-shirt or with a pet blanket (like West Paws Big Sky Blanket) so your smell gets onto the blanket, then let your pet sleep with it while you are gone.
- Chew Bones- Get some long lasting chew bones to distract your dog while you are away. Long term bones like Ostrich Femurs, Bully Stix, Sarge bones, Bare Bones stuffed with Wysong Organic Peanut Butter or yogurt is a good way to help pass the time away while you are gone. Chew bones are only recommended for dogs that are responsible chewers and won't swallow large chunks of bones when left unattended.
-Intelligence Toys- Tug-a-Jugs, Planet Dog Orbees and Orbos and Kongs can all be filled with treats that your dog must learn to get out. They are extremely durable toys that are hard to chew up (a couple of them are even guaranteed) and you can customize the flavor to your dogs desires. Laser toys are also good for pets to chase and burn some energy on. They can't catch and destroy a laser light but it makes for lots of fun. Lasers should only be used under adult supervision, as they can cause eye damage if pointed directly in the eye.
-Spray- Naturvet Quiet Moments sprays are good for calming cats and dogs in kennels, rooms and other strange situations.
-Catnip- Catnip is calming for dogs and cats. A couple of strategically placed catnip toys or a little bit of catnip in the food can help your pet sleep and relax.
-Aromatherapy- Lavender aromatherapy and other herbs can be very calming to your pet during times of high stress.
-Sometimes separation is the best treatment for stress. If your pet stresses easily, sometimes the best thing you can do is give them a little space. Don't reinforce bad behavior by trying to soothe an over-reactive dog or cat. Simply let them know that you're there for them but leave them alone... give them a chew bone or toy and a calming supplement and take them OUT of the stressful situation, even if that means taking them on a walk or putting them in a kennel.
Our next newsletter will have more tips about how to help your pet cope with children, travel and decorations during the holidays.

What to do in the event of a Rattlesnake Bite

Rattlesnake Bite Information:

-Health Concerns that are likely to occur due to a rattlesnake bite

-What to do in case of snakebite


-Six ways to distinguish venomous snakes from their non-venomous relatives

-When are people/pets most likely to encounter snakes?

-The best preparation/prevention

-More information


Things likely to happen due to a rattlesnake bite:

Immediate/Medical Emergency:

-Respiratory malfunction/failure- as venom is a paralytic and depletes blood platelet counts; it often causes breathing to stop before getting to the hospital/vet. It is important to know CPR for people and pets.

-Shock- the bite victim may go into shock. Wikipedia describes shock as: a serious medical condition where the tissue perfusion is insufficient to meet the required supply of oxygen and nutrients. This hypo-perfusion state is a life-threatening medical emergency (mortality rate of 30-50%) and one of the leading causes of death in a critically ill person. There are many types of shock but they all end in organ failure if not treated. To treat: first get help if at all possible, second prepare for and/or give CPR, third stop any hemorrhaging, fourth keep the victim as warm as possible with a sweater, blanket or anything you can use, give as much information as possible when help arrives. Do not offer the victim anything to drink. This is really serious and wikipedia has a very informative section on it. Go to

-Compartment Syndrome- is a situation created by pressure buildup in one fascial compartment. If the pressure in the compartment rises above 30mm Hg the blood supply to the muscles can be completely cut off leading to death of the tissue in the compartment. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment by fasciotomy (the fascia is cut to relieve tension or pressure, this will save the limb but can cause accidental damage to a nearby nerve, surgical scars and a loss of mobility of the joint involved) to allow the pressure to return to normal. If compartment syndrome develops and a fasciotomy is not done there is will most likely be a need for amputation.

-Lethal drop in Blood Platelets- Dogs generally have between 100-200,000 blood platelets (essential for blood clotting), rattlesnake bites can cause a drop below 20,000 platelets, which can cause internal bleeding. Death from hemorrhage can generally occur surprisingly quickly. This is because of ‘positive feedback.’ An example of this is ‘cardiac repression’, when poor heart contraction depletes blood flow to the heart, causing even poorer heart contraction. This kind of effect causes death to occur more quickly than expected. Symptoms include: pale, clammy skin, an increased heart rate and a stupor or confused state. The only step you can perform as first aid is to raise the casualty’s legs; however, if the bite was on the leg, you need to keep the leg with the bite on it below or neutral to the heart.

-Anaphylaxis- If given the anti-venom or anti-venin, there is a chance of anaphylaxis. This is a severe and rapid multi-system allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis does not ALWAYS cause anaphylactic shock, but anaphylactic shock is as common as anaphylactic reactions in this circumstance. Anaphylactic shock is a medical emergency, as brain and organ damage occurs rapidly due to the rapid constriction of airways, decreasing oxygenation throughout the system. Normally anaphylaxis is treated by the administration of epinephrine (or adrenaline), however, this is not something you want to be administering to a patient whose blood you want to circulate as little as possible so as not to spread the venom. Therefore, the anti-venom/venin must be administered at a veterinary facility through an I.V. over the period of several hours… it can only be administered as quickly as an anaphylaxis can be treated.

Note: Recently new brands of anti-venom have been created and the likelihood of anaphylaxis is much, much less. It is a possibility though.

Note: One vial of anti-venom/venin is around $630 and does not HAVE to be given. It is given upon request and most vets don’t carry it. Despite the cost and the possible adverse reaction I highly recommend it if given within 12 hours of the bite. It cannot reverse any damage already done but it can prevent more damage from being done. This could include organ failure, muscle tissue loss, etc.

Immediate but not a medical emergency:

-Excruciating pain- the pain, I hear, comes in waves and drags on. Even if not bitten on a limb it is likely that the victim will be incapacitated by the pain and will not be able to move much. The venom is a neurotoxin and paralytic as well.

-Swelling- swelling is the enlargement of organs caused by accumulation of excess fluid in tissues, called edema. Tthe swelling can increase to the point that it damages (possibly permanently) the fascia of the area (fascia is a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue that separates or binds together muscles or organs) called compartment syndrome.

- Inflammation- Swelling is one of four symptoms of inflammation. Inflammation is characterized by the following quintet: redness, heat, swelling, pain and dysfunction of the organs involved.

-Bruising- is a kind of injury in which the capillaries are damaged, allowing blood to seep into the surrounding tissue. Sometimes bruises can be serious, leading to hematoma (internal bleeding- excess fluid accumulation, forming a hard lump). If bruising is severe, complications may arise. If internal bleeding inside the tissue is very severe, compartment syndrome may occur, leading to disrupted blood flow due to swelling; this can require surgery. Treatments for severe bruising can include RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression bandages and Elevation, and painkillers. Massaging severe bruises will worsen the injury. Later in recovery, some light stretching exercises may be appropriate, but it is probably best to consult a doctor If a severely bruised muscle is used too early in the recovery process, bone tissue may be formed inside the muscle, leading to lasting stiffness and pain. The bruising is bright red, purple, black and blue... and there is lots of it. OUCH!!!

-Hematoma- a collection of blood, generally the result of hemorrhage, or, more specifically, internal bleeding. Hematomas exist as bruises but can also develop in organs.

-Nausea- The extreme pain can be one of many causes of nausea. Another cause may be adverse effects of many drugs, or the development of ulcers from the many drugs needed to stabilize a patient after a bite. It is likely the victim will have to take anti-nausea medication during recovery…if nothing else so that the patient can keep other drugs (such as anti-biotics and pain killers) down.

-Painful swelling of the lymph nodes- Mostly in the armpit and/or groin, but potentially in the neck, chest and abdomen as well. Lymph nodes act as filters, with an internal honeycomb of connective tissue that collect and destroy bacteria and viruses. These small, bean-shaped body cleansers will attempt to clean the venom out of the system and are likely to swell, bruise, and become hard and painful.

Not necessarily immediate but very likely:

Note: many of the symptoms listed above may happen later too. Just because your pet did not get some of the above listed symptoms immediately, does not mean they will not get them so you need to keep an eye out for ALL of these symptoms for the duration of recovery.

-Stomach and Intestinal Ulceration- Doctors and Vets have no choice but to administer a chemical cocktail when a rattlesnake bite victim enters their care, unless the victim received a "dry" bite with no venom (which would be obvious by the time they got a doctor anyway). The mixture of drugs used to stabilize and treat the patient often interacts and causes stomach ulcers. Ulcers are open sores of the skin, eyes or mucous membranes (stomach, etc). Ulcers have a lengthy healing time, are painful/ uncomfortable and can become necrotic and/or can become infected. This doesn’t happen immediately, and may not happen at all, but if it does it will require treatment for a while.

-Muscle Twitching/Fasciculation- These are small, local, involuntary muscle contractions visible under the skin arising from the spontaneous discharge of a bundle of skeletal muscle fibers. I don't know if this is from the body detoxifying the venom (Wikipedia does indicate this as a ‘side effect’ of ‘poisoning’) or from the multitude of drugs, or from stress and anxiety or something else... either way, it's a little scary. Calcium and/or Magnesium supplementation may help this condition if it persists. I wouldn’t give supplementation without a blood test and a recommendation by the doctor/vet first during treatment.

-Post hospitalization infection- For the first several days after the bite the wound and the area around it will seep. For a 30lb dog with a bite from an 18-24" snake the "seepage" area was 4-6" by 1.5-2" of constant drainage. This is good, as the venom will come out of this drainage with the blood. Over the period of several days the blood will decrease to a watery drainage. In some instances it is said to be better to drain the area by "sucking" this out... I personally, am not sure how that would be entirely possible, but I've read that sucking it out might help prevent the necrosis; I don't know that for sure though. However, the area is extremely prone to infection. The area cannot be wrapped because wrapping it would hold the toxins in. So it must be open to air and, therefore, bacteria. Broad-spectrum anti-biotics must be administered.

-Dermal Necrosis- necrosis is the localized death of living cells. In this case it will be caused by the venomous injection as well as by inflammation. If this happens, and it likely will, it MUST be treated because cells that die by necrosis may release harmful chemicals that damage other cells. Treatment is surgical removal of the dead tissue and skin/tissue grafting for tissue replacement. I have researched everywhere to try and find a way to prevent necrosis after a venomous bite but I can’t find anything. You can try giving di-methyl-glycine internally for the duration of recovery (as it helps to oxygenate the tissue and may help) and you might try Zinc Oxide ointment topically (only if it doesn’t have other chemical preservatives in it though). However, there is nothing stating that there is any way to prevent the necrosis. Either the victim will get it and need surgery, or will get lucky and not need it. The amount of surgery needed can vary dramatically. It can be anywhere from a skin scraping to an entire amputation. If it requires skin grafting it could be as simple as cutting the necrosis out and sowing the gap back together or as difficult as cutting the necrosis out and bandaging the leg to the body for 2 weeks while they grow together, then cutting them apart, leaving skin tissue on both sides. This could cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000 depending on the circumstance.

There could be more added to this list but I have only compiled the list as of 6 days after the bite. These are the things I have seen happen or have read are likely to happen. Keep an eye out for any change in health or attitude, whatsoever.

Now, what to do in case of snakebite:

-DO keep the victim as calm/immobile as possible. Increasing the blood flow will also increase the flow of venom throughout the system. This can increase the likelihood of dermal necrosis and internal bleeding, etc.

-DO try to determine the basics on the snake WITHOUT PUTTING YOURSELF IN DANGER. Try to assume the snakes size (approximate length and width) color, distinct markings or patterns, and take note of the number of rattles.

Baby rattlesnakes are born with one rattle, which does not make noise, as it doesn't have an additional rattle to rattle against. Each time the snake sheds it skin (once every 3 to 8 months) it grows an additional rattle. Four or more rattles are "ideal" (as ideal as it can be considering the circumstances) because baby rattlesnakes often don't know how to control the amount of venom they inject and can cause more damage than an adult.

-DO immediately remove anything from the body that may cause increased swelling below the bite area (i.e. rings, watch, shoes, tight clothing, collars, etc.). Leaving these things on will be like putting on a tourniquet. This is very important.

-DO immobilize the bite area and keep it in a neutral to below the heart position. I found out this is very difficult; carrying a dog like a suitcase is just as uncomfortable for you as it is for them. First, CALL THE LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT (see below). If you are going to carry them at all then attempt to make a sling with a shirt or sweater for small animals. If you are trying to move a big animal you can also try to make a sling and carry it with the assistance of another person and make it as far as you can and try to meet the fire department somewhere closer to a road or easier access point.

-DO get to the vet or hospital IMMEDIATELY.

-DO take a cell phone with you; preferably one cell phone per person. If one person has to run for help and another person has to stay behind there is still a need for communication. In my situation I ran for help and called ahead to the nearest vet to make sure the on-call emergency vet was there, ready and waiting for us. I also asked the vet what to do in the meantime. Then I could call my mom and tell her what the vet said (since we were separated). Also, my mom could call me to tell me where she was and where I could pick her up once I got the car. Cell phones might save your/your pets life. There are cell phones available for emergency calls only. If you don’t own a cell phone get one of those and keep it in your first aid kit.


-If you are going to be more than 100 feet from your car or a fairly busy road then:



Especially in the case of large dogs and people, but in any circumstance... I found out that the LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENT will come and rescue you in such circumstances, even if it's your dog.

-BEFORE YOU GO HIKING DO find out the phone number of the nearest fire department. I'm not sure what would happen if you called 911, but the impression that I got is that it is best to call the fire department directly.

-DO get pet insurance- This covers a lot of stuff. It will cover at least a portion of everything except regular vaccinations, spay/neuters, and breeding. It will only cover ACL problems if you’ve had the insurance for more than 12 months but other than that it covers pretty much everything. (Our experience with the snake bite cost over $2,700 of which the insurance eventually covered about half.) It costs around $21/mo and might be the only thing that will help you to afford the outrageous cost of an emergency.


-DO NOT try to kill/capture the snake because this may lead to additional bites and delay your arrival at the hospital or vet.

-DO NOT use a tourniquet. Doing this is basically making the decision to amputate. You can use a ligature and tie off the area with a piece of cloth loose enough to fit your fingers underneath. This will constrict the blood-flow slightly but will not kill the entire limb or cause compartment syndrome, as a tourniquet would.

-DO NOT make an incision at the bite site. If you are not a trained professional you may cause more damage than the bite itself, causing lethal bleeding or infection.

-DO NOT suck the venom with your mouth. Not only could this cause you, potentially the only rescuer on site, to get sick, but your mouth is most certainly dirtier than the bite. It is already likely that the bite will cause necrosis that will need surgery and skin grafting, adding the bacteria in your mouth to this equation could make the injury much worse and much more infected.

-DO NOT pack the limb in ice. Again, this is making the decision to amputate. Yes, the venom being in the system sucks but if the whole body takes some there is a chance everything will be fine, rather than needing an amputation. On average there are 8,000 rattlesnake bites per year (this number is probably very low because many are not reported) and, on average, only 7 people die of rattlesnake bites per year. Amputating a limb is generally not necessary unless someone does something to CAUSE it.

Six ways to distinguish venomous snakes from their non-venomous relatives:

-Rattles at the end of the tail

-Fangs in addition to their rows of teeth

-Facial pits between the nostrils and eyes

Note on facial pits: these pits are the reason rattlesnakes are called "pit-vipers". These pits detect heat... as a matter of fact they can detect heat differences of 1/10th of a degree difference from the background. This is how they aim to strike, as they cannot see well and they don't hear at all. Because of these pits, even if a rattlesnake has been decapitated, IT WILL STILL BITE if the pits detect heat in front of the face. Do not attempt to pick up the head of a venomous snake even if it is decapitated from the body.

-Vertical and elliptical pupils that may look like thin lines in bright light. (Non-venomous snakes have round pupils)

-A single row of scales between the vent and the tip of the tail. (Non-venomous snakes have two rows of scales)

-Broad triangular head and narrow neck.

When are people/pets most likely to encounter snakes?

-Medium temperatures- Snakes are reptiles and can, therefore, not regulate their own body temperatures. Despite popular belief, they cannot tolerate extreme heat (or cold). On days of temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees they are more likely to be out sunning themselves on rocks, in the middle of trails, in grassy areas, etc. These are the days that hikers and pets are most likely to receive “surprise” bites, as no one will have to be snooping to step on a snake. Its likely they will be right out in the open, on a trail, and blending with the background. Only on mid-temperature days will snakes be out to sun themselves... it was 65-70 degrees on the day our dog got bit... the snake was sunning itself in the middle of the hiking trail. NO ONE knew it was there. It did not rattle until after it had done its damage and we had moved away from it.

-Hot/Cold temperatures- they need cool, damp shelters on hot days and are likely to be found in shady areas. On cold days they are likely to be found in sheltered, rocky or ‘burrow’ type areas.

These are they days that your pet might get into them if your pet is a curious snoop- in which case I hear there are places you can take your dog to GET BIT by non venomous snakes to teach them to leave snakes alone.

-Interesting fact, just because you go out when it's wet and/or you don't hear a rattlesnake out, doesn't mean they're not out... Rattlesnakes’ rattles can saturate with water and, when rattled, don't make noise. They may still be out and you just can't hear them.

The best preparation/prevention:

-Know enough about venomous snakes to know when and where they might be. Know what temperatures might cause them to be out, what altitude they don't go above (some rattlesnakes can be found up to 9,500ft) what seasons they are out and when they mate, etc. We were at 6,200ft when Kylie got bit.

-Call parks ahead of time to find out if there have been any snake bites or sightings reported in that area and when.

-Find out the phone number of local fire departments and hospitals/veterinarians

-Wear long, loose pants and calf-high leather boots, or preferably snake guards.

-Sweep areas with a long stick (such as a hiking stick) before entering if you think there is ANY possibility there might be a snake ahead... if you can't see an area, such as spot between rocks on an otherwise clear trail, there may be a snake there.

-Keep your pet on a leash and/or take them to snake "classes"

-Never jump over logs, turn over rocks, put your hands in crevices, or sit down without first carefully checking for snakes.


-If you are confronted with a rattlesnake, remain calm and still at first, then try to back away slowly and carefully.

Rattlesnake repellents include:

Dr. T's Snake-A-Way (7% naphthalene and 28% sulfur), gourd vines, moth balls, sulfur, cedar oil, tacky bird repellent, lime, cayenne pepper spray, sisal rope, coal tar and creosote, liquid smoke, artificial skunk scent, and musk from a king snake (they eat other snakes).

HOWEVER, it has been shown that if a snake really wants to, it will cross into repellent treated areas. Also, none of these things have been shown to be immediately effective. They are used to treat backyards, under houses, etc. Places that can be treated on a daily or weekly basis.

More information:

Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center
Colorado Toll Free: 800-332-3073
Denver Metro: 303-739-1123
National Toll Free: 800-222-1222