Is your dog ready for rattlesnake season?

  • [photo by Cat Whitelock]

    [photo by Cat Whitelock]

Avoidance training for your dog is like a colonoscopy: not so pleasant but possibly life-saving

By Marcy Axness, TME

When you live in the kind of rattlesnake territory we have in the Mountain Communities, precautions are a must.

Wear tall boots for hiking. Be watchful in tall grass. Don’t reach blindly into crevices or under fallen wood.

If you have a dog who ventures with you into our beautiful wilderness, basic precautions may include Rattlesnake Avoidance Training (RAT). If the prospect gives you sticker shock, consider it an insurance investment against the steeper cost of treating a bite.

Cat Whitelock, a veterinary technician at Mountain Aire, explained, “Treatment can easily start at $1,500 and can quickly rise, should pets…(please see below to view full stories and photographs)

Photo captions:

‘Xylitol’ is the name of this Southern Pacific rattlesnake in Cat Whitelock’s hand at a recent training in Ojai. Note the snake’s safety muzzle, made of medical tape that comes off without harming Xylitol’s scales.

Left: Meet Cat Whitelock, rattler wrangler. Her co-worker here, with muzzle on, is Professor X.

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This is part of the April 30, 2021 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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