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Complete and immediate excision of venom-filled tissue is being advocated as "the most effective treatment for snakebite" by a University of Miami clinician.
The new technique has been used successfully on 32 persons during the past two years, Clifford C. Snyder, MD, told JAMAMedical News. Despite the well-known hematotoxic effects of venom, no amputations have been necessary.
If done soon enough, excision of the bite area also appears to reduce the neurotoxic impact of the poison.
Five of those treated thus far were bitten by water moccasins ( cottonmouths) and 27 by rattlesnakes. About 87% of the snakebites in the US are inflicted by the rattle-snake, whose venom is primarily hematoxic.
It was the bite of a rattlesnake, killing a prize hunting dog, that touched off Dr. Snyder's interest in the problem eight years ago. The dog, a grandson of the legendary "Texas Ranger," died despite the best efforts of
Tissue Excision Urged For Snakebite. JAMA. 1966;198(13):35-36. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110260013004