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Old 08-16-2013, 08:54 AM
 
5,445 posts, read 5,461,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
You get out of your car, in a natural area, you should be prepared.

As I said, I personally do not think that may be the whole story.

Come on.

You get out of your car just about ANYWHERE in Virginia, certainly anywhere within sight of the Potomac, and you run the risk of encountering a copperhead. Are you suggesting that anti-snake armor be worn at all times in Virginia?

What makes you think that there's more to the story? What about the story as reported seems less than fully plausible to you?
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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I have seen watch for snakes signs at several rest stops up and down the east coast. We generally see the sign, and drive to the next one lol someone was bitten by a rattlesnake here the other day working in their yard. They are still in the hospital.


FYI: I'd much rather have US medical care with its cost than anywhere else. I've heard horror stories about people waiting months and months or even years for an appointment. This is especially true when you need a specialist. I've heard about children waiting a year for an autism evaluation. That is critical time wasted.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Northern CA
12,770 posts, read 10,168,814 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P47P47 View Post
Come on.

You get out of your car just about ANYWHERE in Virginia, certainly anywhere within sight of the Potomac, and you run the risk of encountering a copperhead. Are you suggesting that anti-snake armor be worn at all times in Virginia?

What makes you think that there's more to the story? What about the story as reported seems less than fully plausible to you?
I wonder about the 4 vials or bags of anti-venom she required. I believe that's what the article said. Sounds like an awful lot. Although I have read that the foot and hands are one of the worst places to get bit, because you lack muscle mass to absorb it, so it travels very quickly.
Anyway you look at it, 55k is insane for a medical treatment of this sort, when heart surgery costs around 38k. I wonder if there is any research being done on synthetic anti-venoms.
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Old 08-18-2013, 12:23 PM
 
875 posts, read 1,266,928 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadian citizen View Post
NJmmadude>

No, I was simply saying that the cost of care and treatment in the USA was way out of line with what it would cost here in Ontario.

Remember I DID say that our health care is NOT free, we all pay for it through our taxes..... BUT the cost is factored on a NO PROFIT system that only charges for the actual cost of the care, whatever it is.

And I didn't say that the life of a human was not worth as much as that of a snake. I WAS pointing out that the snakes are protected, by huge fines, in our laws. Can you see the point , now ?

Jim B

Toronto.
Most certainly. Sorry for giving you a hard time, but there are many discussions that spiral downward because they begin as actual discussion, someone introduces politics, and it disintegrates into name-calling and 'neener-neener'. It's aversive to me, and I see the need to throw politics into everything as a mental hangup. I'm glad that you weren't doing that, I understand that you were just sharing your thoughts. Thanks for your reply.

I am curious about one thing that I read in the article (you also posted this). If the massasauga is critically imperiled, how is it possible that six people have been bitten in as many months? I know that the article addresses potential reasons, but it makes me wonder if either a) the population density is higher than documented, or b) if more people are attempting to intentionally touch or collect these snakes than is assumed.

I do know that one interesting thing about massasaugas is that their populations are so fragmented, and have been for long enough, that there is genetic diversity between the populations.

Also, they are also not as closely related to the diamondback and timber rattlers and other Crotalus sp, they are more closely related to, and in the same genus as the pigmy rattlesnake (Sistrurus).

The antivenom used in Ontario is likely antivypmin, the one used in VA was most likely CroFab, which also makes a very big difference. That being said, antivypmin is a much less expensive antivenom, and is more effective, so your post that I initially responded to is correct, I wonder if whoever makes CroFab has a greater amount of money behind them and can 'out-lobby' (does that make sense?) the company that produces antivypmin. The woman in VA would probably have walked away with much lower bill if it were antivypmin being used. I really don't know the current status of the use of CroFab and antivypmin in the US and Canada, or which direction it is going in, but I do know that CroFab is more popular in the U.S. with viper bites, and antivypmin in other countries.

Finally, I wonder if she actually needed the antivenom at all. 30% of copperhead bites are dry, and most treatments for copperhead envenomation are probably Benadryl and advil. The LD50 for copperhead venom is only about 10% that of rattlesnakes, and bites rarely cause death, unless it's a child/elderly person, someone with a pre-existing condition, or if anaphylaxis occurs.

Last edited by NJmmadude; 08-18-2013 at 12:33 PM..
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Old 08-18-2013, 01:32 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
5,218 posts, read 8,025,382 times
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I remember reading about a guy from Sweden that got bit by a rattlesnake in the local mountains here and his (covered by travel insurance) bill for anti-venom treatments was $144,000!
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Old 08-18-2013, 02:28 PM
 
12,708 posts, read 17,292,651 times
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I had a research friend who was bitten on the finger by an immature prairie rattler in SE New Mexico in the 1970s. He almost lost a finger and a significant part of his hand but he did spend several days in the hospital while I had to replace him at the field camp. I don't know what his eventual medical bill was but I would guess the University paid since he was attempting a collection for them.
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Old 08-19-2013, 03:33 AM
 
Location: Swiftwater, PA
15,897 posts, read 12,695,051 times
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I just have a few observations to make about this expensive treatment.

Is it so expensive because we do not have the "snake hunters" like we had many years ago? There is a rattlesnake den about half a mile from our hunting camp property. Thirty years ago we would encounter snake hunters all summer long. Now most snakes are protected with heavy fines (not as bad as Canada). Many of the "snake hunters" were harvesting live snakes for their venom. So, my first question is: Did this cut down on the supply of venom for anti-venom production? Or is this just because liability insurance has driven up the cost?

Second question: Since we are protecting many poisonous snakes; is it not inevitable that we will have more snake bites? Since we do not see snake hunters; we are seeing more rattlesnakes. Here, in PA, snake hunters can get a permit to harvest one rattlesnake a year - but I do not think the old hunters would jump at that opportunity.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
2,631 posts, read 3,452,426 times
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NJmmadude :

Thanks for your kind reply.

You are obviously much more knowledgeable on snakes than I am ( grin).

The relatively small area that has rattle snakes in Ontario, is what we call "cottage country " along the shores of Georgian Bay and the Muskoka Lakes district. It has thousands of summer cottages, as well as a few year round towns like Parry Sound and Honey Harbour. it is rocky and has lots hard wood and pine trees, and mostly sand soil. Most of the people who have cottages up there are well aware of the snakes, and are careful about them.

I suggest that some/ most of the bite victims are "city people " who have NO knowledge about any type of snake and are totally uninformed about the danger that they may pose. They can rent a cottage, or stay at a Provincial camp ground and blunder into trouble.

As to the type of anti venom being used here.......I don't know about that. I would assume that with the localised nature of the range of the rattlers here, the Regional Health Centre in Parry Sound would have whatever is required, to treat the victims. They also have access to the Ontario Air Ambulance program, for air transport to a trauma centre in Toronto, about a 30 minute helicopter flight away.

On a somewhat tangential point..... Have you seen the news story about the two small kids in New Brunswick, that were killed by a ball python a week or so ago ? They were sleeping on the second floor of a building that had a reptile and snake business, on the ground floor. The python, described as being 12 feet plus in size, escaped it's cage and made it's way to the second floor, through the ventilator system, where it killed the two boys ages six and four, by constriction.

Link to the story here.

Boys killed by python continue to 'heal people's hearts' - New Brunswick - CBC News

Jim B

Toronto.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:32 AM
 
875 posts, read 1,266,928 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadian citizen View Post
NJmmadude :

Thanks for your kind reply.

You are obviously much more knowledgeable on snakes than I am ( grin).

The relatively small area that has rattle snakes in Ontario, is what we call "cottage country " along the shores of Georgian Bay and the Muskoka Lakes district. It has thousands of summer cottages, as well as a few year round towns like Parry Sound and Honey Harbour. it is rocky and has lots hard wood and pine trees, and mostly sand soil. Most of the people who have cottages up there are well aware of the snakes, and are careful about them.

I suggest that some/ most of the bite victims are "city people " who have NO knowledge about any type of snake and are totally uninformed about the danger that they may pose. They can rent a cottage, or stay at a Provincial camp ground and blunder into trouble.

As to the type of anti venom being used here.......I don't know about that. I would assume that with the localised nature of the range of the rattlers here, the Regional Health Centre in Parry Sound would have whatever is required, to treat the victims. They also have access to the Ontario Air Ambulance program, for air transport to a trauma centre in Toronto, about a 30 minute helicopter flight away.

On a somewhat tangential point..... Have you seen the news story about the two small kids in New Brunswick, that were killed by a ball python a week or so ago ? They were sleeping on the second floor of a building that had a reptile and snake business, on the ground floor. The python, described as being 12 feet plus in size, escaped it's cage and made it's way to the second floor, through the ventilator system, where it killed the two boys ages six and four, by constriction.

Link to the story here.

Boys killed by python continue to 'heal people's hearts' - New Brunswick - CBC News

Jim B

Toronto.
Hi Jim,

I have to tell you that although I am definitely a reptile and amphibian enthusiast, I do sometimes have to cross-reference books that I have before posting some of the stuff that I do. I have a passion for them, but my knowledge is not encyclopedic. I love to learn though, which is why I love to discuss these things.

You are probably right about the folk who don't have the experience with the massasaugas, but it still surprises me because most people respond to snakes with something between cozy indifference and sheer horror. I hope that it doesn't mean that people are trying to collect them.

I did read about the python and the two boys. It's horrific and very sad. I really have trouble finding words to express feelings about something like that, I can't imagine losing two young children on the same night. I don't think that large constrictors or venomous animals should be pets, for this reason. Even if accidents are rare, this is the outcome of them.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:35 AM
 
875 posts, read 1,266,928 times
Reputation: 1745
Quote:
Originally Posted by fisheye View Post
I just have a few observations to make about this expensive treatment.

Is it so expensive because we do not have the "snake hunters" like we had many years ago? There is a rattlesnake den about half a mile from our hunting camp property. Thirty years ago we would encounter snake hunters all summer long. Now most snakes are protected with heavy fines (not as bad as Canada). Many of the "snake hunters" were harvesting live snakes for their venom. So, my first question is: Did this cut down on the supply of venom for anti-venom production? Or is this just because liability insurance has driven up the cost?

Second question: Since we are protecting many poisonous snakes; is it not inevitable that we will have more snake bites? Since we do not see snake hunters; we are seeing more rattlesnakes. Here, in PA, snake hunters can get a permit to harvest one rattlesnake a year - but I do not think the old hunters would jump at that opportunity.
I think that it has more to do with the method of production. The older antivenom was from Wyeth, and it had more side effects. CroFab has fewer side effects, but is so expensive because horses were used as a medium in their production. The high price probably does have a demand aspect, but CroFab is expensive to produce.

I would rather have the antivypmin, based on what I have read about its effectiveness, price and lack of side effects.
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