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What is the standard treatment for a rattlesnake bite?

I have not seen anyone for rattlesnake bite this summer but I believe we have had one patient so far this year. Treatment depends on the severity of the bite and whether or not the bite was venomous. All rattlesnake bites need medical attention, whether venomous or not, as even “dry bites” can result in infection. We will provide wound care, cleaning the wound and making sure there are no fragments of tooth left in the skin, and we will provide a tetanus booster if the patient is not current. We will generally observe the patient for up to 12 hours to make sure there are no systemic reactions to the bite.

If the patient is having symptoms of a venomous bite such as numbness, weakness, breathing difficulty, nausea and vomiting, we will administer antivenin and run blood and urine tests to check for potentially fatal conditions. The patient may be hospitalized for several days. With prompt emergency treatment, rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal.

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