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Weather

Snakes in the rain: Pets in danger when clouds burst

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 12:55 AM

With rain pelting the Tampa Bay area this morning, the slimy, slithering things begin to surface.

And that can mean problems for wet noses of furry friends that poke into bushes or under porches.

Rain, pet experts say, tends to bring out snakes and venomous toxic toads, and pets let out into the backyard to do their business can run into more than they anticipated.

"Snakes and toads really come out after it rains and this increases the chances of pets getting close to them while on a walk or let out in the yard," said John Gicking, a veterinary critical care and emergency resident at the Florida Veterinary Specialists on Busch Boulevard.

"Over the past two weeks we have already seen about 10 dogs come in through emergency because of a snake bite," he said in a news release issued this morning.

There are plenty of indigenous species to worry about, like rattlesnakes, coral snakes and water moccasins. One exotic species that is cause for concern is the giant cane toad, or marine toad, which can, in some cases, be deadly to pets.

Snake bites can lead to severe swelling, bleeding disorders and even death, Gicking said.

"It is especially important for pet owners to be aware of these dangers after we have had so much warm wet weather," he said. "People don't realize how important it is to keep a close eye on their pets even if you let them loose in the backyard. In fact, I recommend keeping them on a leash even if you are in a fenced in backyard."

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