Family dog dies after rattlesnake bite

Posted at: 07/09/2014 9:24 PM
Updated at: 07/10/2014 9:00 AM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Gina Bloom says that while on her family's annual trip to Elephant Butte, their dog Sadie was bitten by a rattlesnake. When they took her to the veterinarian in Truth or Consequences, they were told that Sadie's symptoms were consistent with what one would get from a bite from the Mojave rattlesnake.

However, experts say the snake has not been in that area before. Bloom says she wants people to look again.

“They're not just a dog - they're part of your family. We want to get the word out that there are Mojave snakes at the lake. I contacted Elephant Butte, they knew nothing of it,” Bloom said.

Bloom says she talked with a park ranger, who had never seen a Mojave rattlesnake in the area. The veterinarian said there was no anti-venom in town for that kind of snake. Bloom was in shock.

Bob Myers, the Director of the Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque, says he'd be shocked if the Mojave showed up at Elephant Butte. Typically, he says, the snake is only found in extreme Southern New Mexico. But he says a similar looking snake, the Western Diamondback, is prominent – and both snakes are dangerous.

"The Mojave can have a neurotoxin to the venom that the Western Diamondback has a primarily hemotoxic venom. The Mojave has a combination. The Mojave rattlesnake is smaller than the Western Diamondback. So they're considered dangerous for different reasons -- the components of the venom, the amount of venom in the case of the Western Diamondback," Myers said.

Bloom says she knows the difference between the snakes. She's done a lot of research since Sadie's death. She believes her family's loss and the veterinarian's diagnosis is reason enough for everyone to take another look, and for people to be notified about all lethal animals in the area.

"It was very traumatic and like I said, if we can avoid that happening with someone else just to realize... post a sign and say this snake has been spotted in the area and they can make the choice whether they choose to camp there," Bloom said.