The Cypress Health Region is reminding the public of the dangers of wild animals and why you should not make any attempt to get close to wild animals no matter big or small.
It is especially important to take all possible precautionary measures when present in unpopulated areas such as fields, pastureland, and parks. If you encounter a wild animal do not approach it.
“Even the young and the small wild animals can be dangerous” says Dr. David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer for the Cypress Health Region. “Many wild animals are at risk of carrying rabies, a fatal virus infection that can be very traumatic and nearly always fatal. As well, wild animal bites can cause other infections including tetanus.”
Another danger is the prairie rattlesnake which populates the southwest corner of Saskatchewan.
”We have rattlesnakes in our region that are poisonous and carry a venom capable of causing tissue destruction, swelling, internal bleeding, and intense pain,” noted Dr. Torr.
The region has responded to incidents over the summer where persons have encountered animals such as wild cats, foxes, raccoons, and snakes that have resulted in bodily injury. An abnormal stretch of rainfall has increased brush and foliage that can hide the presence of many of these animals.
If you are bitten by any wild animal you should seek medical attention immediately and explain the circumstances to enable the attending physician to properly discuss with the Medical Health Officer the best management as regards to rabies or other infection. Do not tamper with the wound except for cleaning with clean solution if available. It is also important to make sure your tetanus immunization is up to date.
If you or somebody you are with is bitten by a rattlesnake a few important steps should be followed:
1. Do not cut the bite area, or use suction, or try to apply a tourniquet, or apply ice.
2. Remain as calm as possible and don‘t panic. Around 25 per cent of bites from venomous snakes may be dry bites.
3. Call 9-1-1 to request medical attention and ambulance as quickly as possible.
4. Snakebites are medical emergencies. Quick assessment in a hospital is necessary. There is a time frame in which to safely transport the person bitten to a treatment facility.
5. Carefully remove jewellery from the affected limb in case of swelling.
6. Carry the victim, if possible, or help them to remain calm, inactive, and in a semi-sitting position until help arrives.
7. Keep the affected limb below the level of the heart.
8. Cleanse the wound if possible.
9. Splint the affected limb loosely to reduce movement (if splint material is at hand).