Venomous snakes pose spring pet dangers

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A dog owner warns other pet lovers to be on the lookout this spring for venomous snakes after a run-in sent his pet on an emergency visit to the veterinarian. 

"I'm glad I was there and saw what had happened. I recognized six inches of the snake," Neil Towey said after he saw his dog Otis wince after sniffing a hole in the ground in his Forsyth County backyard. 

Towey said the snake was a Copperhead, one of six venomous snakes in Georgia that are found in suburbs in the Metro.   

Towey rushed Otis to Animal Emergency Center of North Fulton as his snout continued to swell. 

Veterinarians said venomous snake bites can be deadly; treatment includes intravenous fluids, pain medicine and possibly anti-venom medication. 

"If you're going on walks in parks and things on weekends, sometimes we get two to three snake bite cases in a day,"  said Dr. Byron Hawkins, warning pet owners to keep dogs on leashes in wooded areas. Hawkins said he saw snake bite cases earlier this year than normal due to a warm spell early this year.  

Hawkins also advises pet owners to clear brush and debris, where snakes may hide in your backyard.