Pets Best Insurance: Rattlesnake Bites on Rise

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For Immediate Release

BOISE, Idaho (August 31, 2010) – Pets Best Insurance President Dr. Jack Stephens, says the national company has seen an alarming increase in rattlesnake bite claims compared to previous years, and he thinks he knows why—more people are exercising with their pets outdoors.

According to the pet insurance company, the rate of rattlesnake bite claims nearly doubled in 2009 over 2006.  “We know that pets are good for us… we have learned that we are better fit, lose more weight and keep the weight off longer if we walk with our pets,” said Dr. Stephens, a veterinarian who founded pet insurance in the US.

“Walking with a pet can pose some hazards, such as rattlesnake bites,” which can be very expensive to treat, Dr. Stephens said, adding that the snakes are most prevalent in Western, Southwest and Southern states.

Rattlesnakes are most often seen during the spring, summer and early fall months, most usually in wide open areas where pet owners often hike with their dogs.

 The pet insurance president says if owners come across a rattler, to back off, take control of the dog and head the other direction. Snakes commonly strike only when they are surprised or feel threatened.

According to the doctor, snake bite symptoms include pain, tissue swelling and bruising. Fang marks are also a telltale sign of a snake bite. Symptoms may progress to shock and even lead to death if untreated.  Many times the venom of the snake causes the area bitten to die and become necrotic, leading to infection.

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Early treatment, which may include fluids, antihistamines and antivenin, is essential, which is why owners of pets who have been bitten should immediately take their pets to a veterinarian or a pet emergency clinic.

Although the bites can usually be treated, the best advice Dr. Stephens can give is to preemptively vaccinate against snakebites.

The vaccine (which is not covered by Pets Best Insurance) stimulates the dog’s immune system to produce antibodies and has been found effective against most rattlesnake and copperhead bites.

Jake, a four-year-old Golden/Lab mix racked up $4,462.75 in veterinary bills for the treatment of his snakebite.  Fortunately, Jake’s owner had pet insurance through Pets Best Insurance, so 80% of the vet bill was paid, after the deductible was subtracted. “If you walk your dog in areas known to have venomous snakes, then be prepared with pet health insurance, since costs such as Jake’s owner experienced are common,” says Dr. Stephens.

About Pets Best Insurance

Boise, Idaho-based Pets Best Insurance provides pet insurance plans that reimburse pet owners for a straightforward 80 percent of veterinary services after a deductible, with no benefit schedules or fee restrictions. Pets Best plans do not include age restrictions and allow the pet owner to choose their veterinarian. The Pets Best Insurance team is a group of pet lovers who strive to deliver quality customer service and value. Insurance plans offered and administered by Pets Best are underwritten by Aetna Insurance Company of Connecticut (AICC).  This material describes Pets Best Insurance plans in general terms. Eligible expenses and coverage may vary, depending on your plan selection. All pet insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Information is believed to be accurate as of the production date; however, it is subject to change. For more information, visit Pets Best Insurance at or phone 877-PetsBest (738-7237).

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