Zoo’s anti-venom helps Oklahoma boy recover from snakebites

Ponca City Now - October 7, 2015 8:50 am

SLAUGHTERVILLE, Okla. (AP) – A 16-month-old Oklahoma boy is healthy again after recovering from two venomous snakebites with help from an unconventional anti-venom stocked at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Blake Skinner’s mother, Letia Skinner, says he was playing in his backyard in Slaughterville on Sept. 10 when he was bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake. His doctor, William Banner, says the venom keeps blood from clotting, and even a slight injury could have led to the boy’s death.

Conventional anti-venom used in the U.S. didn’t work on the boy. After the zoo agreed to share their stock of anti-venom designed for Mexican and South American rattlesnakes, the boy showed dramatic improvement.

Banner theorized that the zoo’s anti-venom worked because pygmy rattlesnakes are close genetic cousins of those snakes. There’s no anti-venom specifically for pigmy rattlesnakes.


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