Timber Rattlesnake Bites Dog Near Lake George

An area woman chronicled a harrowing experience over the weekend while hiking near Lake George. Her 15-lb dog was bitten by a timber rattlesnake on a trail near Hague in northern Lake George.  The woman recently shared her story on social media, hoping it could save another dog’s life.

The unnamed woman, who posted her story to Reddit/Adirondacks, says the incident happened on Sunday on the Fifth Peak trail near Hague in northern Lake George. That's when, according to her post, "approximately 2 miles from the parking lot, we encountered a rather big snake blocking the trail. It was black with a blue and orange rattling tail, 2-3 times bigger than our pup."

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A black timber rattlesnake Photo: NYS DEC

Her dog, then off-leash, lunged at the large snake against the owner's commands and was struck by the rattler.

"We picked him up and ran, fueled by adrenaline and fear," she wrote.

After about 30-45 minutes, she descended the mountain, but her pup was in pain and needed immediate attention.

Her Dog was Dying in Her Arms

According to her post, she was told to visit one of two hospitals, one in Burlington and one in Latham. Unfortunately, neither of them had antivenin, a treatment for venomous bites and stings that contain antibodies that can disable venom toxins.

Eventually, she was directed to an emergency vet in South Glens Falls, and luckily, they had one vial of the antivenin.

"I started crying (but we) made it to the hospital 54 minutes later," she wrote.  Adding that the "dog was visibly dying in my arms. I kept pouring water gently on his head so that he would continue to lick it off and show signs of life. I don’t know if it had any positive or negative impact, but it gave me peace of mind that he was still functioning."

Brian Cody
Fifth Peak Trail, where a timber rattlesnake bit a 15 lb dog over Memorial Day Weekend. Photo: Google Maps

The Dog is Alive and Recovering

According to the Reddit post, her pup is still at the vet in Latham and about to undergo his second blood transfusion. The dog's owner says the first bill they received was about $1500, and the second one will range from $3- 6k.  "

She admits it was expensive but worth it, adding, "We are incredibly pleased with the professionalism of the doctors and staff and grateful that they saved his life and that we have the funds to not hesitate in making this decision."

Are Timber Rattlesnakes Deadly?

Yes, a timber rattlesnake's bite can be deadly to a human, but bites are rare.  Timber rattlesnakes are venomous pit vipers native to eastern North America, and while bites are rare, their venom is potent enough to kill a person, and up to 10% of untreated victims may die. However, less than 1 in 600 rattlesnake bites are fatal, and about 33% don't inject venom. Even if venom isn't injected, you should always seek treatment.

What to Do if You Encounter One

According to the NYS DEC, Do not panic! Keep a safe distance of 6ft or more away. Let them move along on their own. Do not kill or collect the individual. Timber rattlesnakes are not aggressive unless provoked.

If you are bitten accidentally, seek medical attention immediately or call 911. To report sightings or ask questions, contact your Regional Wildlife Office.

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Gallery Credit: Brian Cody TSM Albany