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No, cats have no immunity to venomous bites. It’s an old wive’s tale.
Over the years, we’ve had mountain lions, bobcats, wolves, coyote, dogs and horses bitten by rattlesnakes and they all get sick. Antivenom is given, if it’s caught early enough, within 2 hours of the bite.
Determining factors for recovery are: if you’re able to give anitvenom early enough, where the animal was bitten, the amount of venom, the size of the animal and their overall health.
Rattlesnakes can give a dry bite and they can control how much they inject, so this is also a factor. But, there’s no way to tell how much they injected or if it was a dry bite.
That’s something you’ll figure out as the symptoms progress. The swelling can constrict airways, ability to swallow, blood coagulation and the vascular system. We have snake fence around enclosures to help prevent snakes from getting in.
There is a rattlesnake vaccine but many vets think it’s ineffective, plus there is the possibility of allergic reaction. The antivenom for rattlesnakes is $450. Per vial it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 vials depending on the individual animal and how they are recovering. It must be given IV and there can be a reaction to the antivenom, so also something to consider.
The venom is a neurotoxin which breaks down the tissue so the snake can digest its prey which causes necrotic tissue around the site of injection. Venom can vary by species of rattlesnakes and even regionally, the same species of snake can have a different variation in venom in a different region.
In Arizona, there are very small straw colored scorpions called the Bark Scorpion and they can be deadly, especially to cats. I can tell you from experience Bark Scorpion stings are extremely painful and last a couple of days.
It is really weird you can feel the venom as it moves, first pain and then by the third day numbness. The other scorpions in Arizona are not as poisonous, so not a threat. As far as antivenom for bark scorpions, it is extremely expensive and is produced in Mexico. With Bark Scorpion stings, you will probably never find the site as it is like a pin prick, so no blood. There’s possibly a small red spot or nothing at all, but the animal will exhibit pain and neurological signs.
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