Retrospective analysis of clinical findings and outcome of cats with suspected rattlesnake envenomation in Southern California: 18 cases (2007–2010)


  • The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Address correspondence and offprint requests to

Dr. Jennifer A. Hoose, California Veterinary Specialists, 2409 S. Vineyard Ave, Suite O, Ontario, CA 91761, USA. Email:



To evaluate treatment and survival rates of cats with suspected rattlesnake envenomation.


Retrospective study.


Veterinary emergency referral hospital in Southern California.


Client-owned animals.



Measurements and main results

Eighteen cats were treated for suspected rattlesnake envenomation between January 2007 and August 2010. There were 3 fatalities and 15 cats survived (16% mortality rate). Two cases developed pelvic limb paresis 3–4 days post envenomation. There were no apparent adverse reactions to treatment with antivenom.


Cats are presented infrequently for treatment of envenomation compared to dogs. Envenomation in cats should be treated according to guidelines established for people and dogs and administration of antivenom does not appear to be associated with adverse events. The mortality rate in this study was found to be 16%, which is higher than the mortality rate reported for dogs suspected of rattlesnake envenomation in a similar region (4.1%). Pelvic limb paresis may develop 3–4 days post envenomation but can resolve within 24 hours.