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Houndsman's First Aid Kit

by Scott Smith, DVM

My first aid kit is more complete than most as I run hounds out of my work truck, but there are a few things we should all carry to the field when running dogs.

  1. Diphenhydramine Injectible and Oral Benadryl for snakebites and stings
  2. Triple Antibiotic Ophthalmic Ointment to treat eye scratches and foreign bodies
  3. Saline Eye Wash to flush debris out of eyes
  4. Thumb Forceps (Tweezers) to remove objects from eyes, ears, nostrils, skin, etc.
  5. Gauze Squares and Vet-wrap (self sticking bandage) as an emergency bandage for wounds big or small for transport to a vet
  6. Toenail Trimmers for removing torn nails
  7. Wire Cutters to remove fishhooks, barbed-wire, etc so they can be cut in field
  8. You may also wish to carry oral antibiotics and antiinflammatories if you go on long hunting trips miles/days from vet care.

The injectible Benadryl is the thing to have for snakebites. Contact your local Vet for help in putting all of these things together. Hope this helps many of you out with such an important but often neglected item.

Question:  In regard to snakebites, I see you recommend Benadryl to treat snakebites, just wondering, have you ever tried Prednisone, or is it not recommended? I use Prednisone 20mg (for an average size Beagle) daily for 3 days, with Amoxicillin 250mg twice a day for 1 week. Works like a charm. Swelling is usually gone after the first day or so. What are your thoughts?

Answer:  I was also taught when I moved to the South to steroid treat these snake bitten dogs. Treated many similar to the way you described with good success. I lost a dog that was very dear to me after a snakebite and it was being treated with steroids. This prompted me to pick the brains of some human ER docs, some veterinary internal medicine specialists, and a few select resources. It would appear based upon this research that antihistamines like Benadryl are the safest and best in the field treatment for these bites. I learned this lesson the hard way. I get a lot of dogs snake bitten, and have treated probably 100 bites this way both in the field and in my  practice, and have been pleased with the results.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).