Antivenom, EO vs. snake venom

“The average cost per vial for veterinary purchase is $300.00.  Other F(ab’)2 products from Brazil and Venezuela are available, however there is no current published peer reviewed veterinary literature on these products.   Stay tuned for future veterinary studies, as clinical trials are underway. ”

– Dr. Raegan J. Wells, DVM, MS, DACVECC, an Assistant Professor of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine at Colorado State University

July 16, 2016

Recently, a good friend unfortunately had a dog that was bitten by a rattlesnake.  His dog had been taken to a vet ER, injected with an antivenom, antibiotics, etc. but later had died.  He added that the dog and another dog lived in the country area.  The country area is known for venomous snakes such as rattlesnakes, copperheads and so on.  The second dog too was bitten by the rattlesnake.  I asked him was it still alive?  He stated yes, but it wasn’t doing well after being bit, and had similar inflammation, swelling, lethargy, pain, etc. to the other dog before it died.  This was the next day, and he texted me a photo of the 2nd dog’s leg still alive showing the rattlesnake bite, swelling and infection.  I told him venomous creatures such as snakes and scorpions are administered a type of anti-venom or a vaccination by vets or ER for humans.  This did not help the first dog, as it had passed away.  The second dog’s bite was becoming necrotic on the wound but had not been taken to the vet for a similar treatment yet.

To understand how Antivenom works, we need to understand how venom works.

1. Venom is made of a mixture of proteins and each can individually produce a different response.

2. For example, crotalid neurotoxins block Neuromuscular junction, by acting on acetycholine receptors  (Mechanisms of Venom Toxicity)

3. Another example is Chlorotoxin, found in the venom of the Deathstalker.

NOTE: The deathstalker (Leiurus quinquestriatus) is a species of scorpion, a member of the Buthidae family.  It is also known as the Israeli Yellow scorpion.  This toxin is a potassium, chloride channel toxin, i.e it binds and blocks these ion channels. (Chloride channel inhibition by the venom of the scor… [Toxicon. 1991])

Anti-venom consists of Antibodies, (so, one is getting injected with antibodies for a particular venom), they bind to the venom and chemically change it to something that can not interact with the body, thus neutralizing its effects.  That being said, they usually can not reverse any effects of the venom.  This is a form of Passive immunity.  Technically, one’s body can produce the antibody on its own, but the response of the immune system is a lot slower vis-a-vis venom.  Hence anti-venoms, an external source of antibodies is needed to counter the effect of venom.1

Why Not Rattlesnake Vaccine?

I researched to find critics on rattlesnake venom and to my surprise from Austin, Veterinarian Dr. Will Falconer’s (DVM) website here are quotes:

“The rattlesnake vaccine is of questionable efficacy.  The manufacturer, Red Rock Biologics shows no study data to support efficacy at all.”

“Immunologists and UC Davis Vet School don’t think it’s worthy of recommending.  A colleague of mine, practicing in snake country in So. California, relayed that Dr. Michael Peterson, DVM, MS, an expert in venom and snake bites, thinks the vaccine is a joke, and it was “laughed off the stage” at a human medical conference.”

“If there’s immunity from this vaccine at all, it’s short lived. Some months, perhaps. Even the maker admits this.”

“Another point against its efficacy: the manufacturer urges the same rush to the ER and same intensive treatment whether your dog has had this vaccine or not when he received his snake bite.”

“Then there’s the safety question.  As with all injections of foreign protein into an animal’s body, you really have to question the wisdom of such a procedure.  Abscesses at the injection site have been reported, and here’s a case of autoimmune disease I found that came right after rattlesnake vaccination, with denial by the manufacturer at every turn.”

“Rattlesnake vaccine is also quite expensive, often running $40 or more a shot, and a series is recommended. “2

“Snake Oil”

Dr. David Stewart originally pursued a college major in theology, philosophy, and English, and earned degrees in physics, math, earth science, and natural medicine.  He is a Registered Aromatherapist.  Dr. Stewart wrote on the origin of the work snake oil:

“Snake Oil” is a term coined during pioneer days in the United States that became a synonym for fraud. Actually “snake oil” was a legitimate product sold by traveling salesmen throughout the frontier West as a first aid remedy for rattlesnake bites.  Applying the oil on the site of the bite would react chemically with the venom and render it harmless.  It worked.  The essential oil was Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia).  Unfortunately, not all salesmen were honest and some were selling just any old cheap oil in a bottle and calling it “snake oil.” When people discovered that it did not work, all snake oil salesmen were branded as untrustworthy.  In the late 1900s and early 20th century, when it became known that some essential oils promoted as effective snake bite remedies did not work and had been sold by deception, drug companies spread another fraud saying that natural remedies, in general, were unscientific and did not work while the synthetic potions they manufactured were scientific and better.  Hence, even to this day, those of us who promote natural remedies are sometimes called “snake oil salesmen” as a put down for our practice and our products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) have found that spraying or diffusing Cinnamon and/or Clove oil into a container will repel snakes and drive them out.  It does not kill them, but just makes it unpleasant enough to force them to leave. Applying the oils in advance does not prevent snakes from crawling over those surfaces and entering hiding places that could pose hazards to humans.  The oils must be applied directly to or in the vicinity of the snakes themselves.  When a brown snake emerges from a shipment, they can control its movements and facilitate its exodus by simply aiming a stream of spray from a bottle containing a mixture of 1% clove or cinnamon oil, with 1% sodium lauryl sulphate (as an emulsifier), and 98% water.  The stream must hit the snake in the head to trigger escape behavior and effectively control its movements.”3

NOTE:  For more information on how and why essential oils work, see the book, The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple – (God’s Love Manifest in Molecules) by Dr.David Stewart.

Snake bite

Snake bite causes a coagulopathy – a blood coagulation disorder, and this is the problem.   Clinically however, there has been some suspicion about the effectiveness of antivenom because it does not reverse the coagulopathy, initially resulting in larger and larger doses being given (up to 23 vials in this brown snake study).

The current recommendations are to use 1 vial only, because more doses are ineffective, and this recommendation is based on lab evidence (that has not translated into clinical effectiveness for other antivenoms).

This study showed that giving coagulation factors (FFP) was effective at treating snake bite coagulopathy, but the timing or dose of antivenom had no effect.4

The doctor from Australia that writes in his blog also references the ncbi source:

Failure of antivenom to improve recovery in Australian snakebite coagulopathy references this study:

RESULTS: Neither antivenom dose nor time of antivenom administration had an effect on recovery of VICC.

DISCUSSION: Antivenom did not appear to be effective for the coagulopathy in snake envenoming in Australia. FFP appeared to shorten the time of VICC recovery.5

And another NCBI study, Antivenom efficacy or effectiveness:

“Despite widespread use of antivenoms, many questions remain about their effectiveness in the clinical setting.  There are numerous potential reasons for antivenom failure in human envenoming, of which antivenom inefficacy is only one.  Other important reasons include venom-mediated effects being irreversible, antivenom being unable to reach the site of toxin-mediated injury, or the rapidity of onset of venom-mediated effects.  A number of recent studies in Australia bring into question the effectiveness of some antivenoms, including snake antivenom for coagulopathy, redback spider and box jellyfish antivenoms.  Despite brown snake antivenom being able to neutralise venom induced clotting in vitro, use of the antivenom in human envenoming does not appear to change the time course of coagulopathy.“6

 The numbers

1. There are up to 3,000 snake bites per year in Australia, of which about 1% get antivenom, but the deaths still number about 1 person per year.7

– The Australian Inland Taipan has been labelled the deadliest snake in the world, but there have never been any recorded deaths from this snake.  There has been no recorded death from spider bite in Australia since 1979.8

-Interestingly, this has been credited as due to the redback spider antivenom that has been shown to be ineffective.9

-More people die each year in Australia from bee stings than snakes and spiders put together.10

-Anaphylactic (severe allergic) reactions to snake antivenom are common.11

(Antivenom use, premedication and early adverse reactions in the management of snake bites in rural Papua New Guinea, and Current use of Australian snake antivenoms and frequency of immediate-type hypersensitivity reactions and anaphylaxis) and may be fatal.)

5. DMSO is another product that is used for snake bite venom at times.  DMSO is at times used in an IV, but with hopeful antioxidant purposes, not topical and studies show low success with snake venom.12

From pubmed DMSO vs. Snake venom:

1. Antiproteolytic activity of H. brasiliense

DMSO (1%, v/v, final concentration) did not interfere in proteolytic activity of B. jararaca.

NOTE: Proteolytic activity is the breaking down of proteins into simpler compounds, as in digestion.

NOTE: B. a species of pit viper endemic to southern Brazil,Paraguay, and northern Argentina.

2. Anticoagulant effect of H. brasiliense

DMSO alone did not interfere in clotting times.

3. Antihemolytic effect of H. brasiliense 

Neither HBSE alone induce hemolysis, nor the hemolytic activity induced by B. jararaca venom mixed with DMSO was affected.

NOTE: Hemolysis is the destruction or dissolution of red blood cells with release of hemoglobin.

4. Antihemorrhagic effect of H. brasiliense

DMSO did not interfere in B. jararaca-induced hemorrhage (Figure 5, column 2)

NOTE: Hemorrhage is excessive discharge of blood from the blood vessels; profuse bleeding.

My friend told me they tried to treat his dog the night it was bitten at a Veterinarian’s clinic.  There are different types of antivenom or what is known as antivenin.  Antivenom serums are for:

– Spiders

– Acarids (ticks)

– Insects (such as a venomous caterpillar from Brazil)

– Scorpions

– Marine animals

– Snakes

He sent me the treatments for the snakebite by the vet, and the antivenom used on his dog was Bioclon:

”This product (Bioclon) provides a new treatment for children and adults and is designed specifically for scorpion stings,” Midthun says. “Scorpion stings can be life-threatening, especially in infants and children.”13

I was a bit confused.  Why did his dog get injected with scorpion antivenom?  Snake antivenom or antivenin is limited, but it would seem that perhaps scorpion antivenom may not work against rattlesnake venom?  I will get back to this more at the end.

I remembered one thing about our Miracle oil.  There was a time a friend of mine was stung by a bee in 2015 when we were talking in a parking lot.  We removed the stinger, and he began to have the usual allergic reaction with swelling and shock.  It had an anti-histaminic effect.  Here are photos he took as it happened.

SJMO vs. Bee Sting


After two hours later no reaction:

It also had a similar effect on a woman I met at a wedding in 2015 that had Rheumatoid arthritis.  She was bitten by a mosquito, and due to her low immunity system, she had a similar allergic reaction to a mosquito bite.  We carry our oil everywhere we go for general reasons, and I applied a few drops on the mosquito bite.

SJMO vs. Woman with RA having reaction to Mosquito bite


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After app. 33 minutes:

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Granted, both above are hardly clinical trials, but they are on the job work and a type of a blind test.  I was pleased to see both had a recovery in about five minutes.  Bee stings and mosquito bites are not snake venom, but bee stings are treated at allergy centers and are a form of reaction scorpions, and snakes like other creatures listed above cause.

SJMO vs. Poison Ivy in 45 minutes

Similar to allergic reactions, here is an additional before and after of a consumer that was exposed to Poison Ivy while fencing a ranch in Louisiana:



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Main issues regarding venom or reactions to bee stings or reactions to snake venom are comparable.  I found research on essential oils with snake venom, although much more on clinical trials is needed to validate or even make any claims.  There are ncbi and pubmed medical journals I looked up for reactions to snakebites and any medical journals comparing possibilities our oils:

1. EO in SJMO vs. Shock

Peppermint studied with other oils as an alternative intervention in asthma, allergy and immunology.14

Peppermint and Eucalyptus oils on human and animal studies conclude anti inflammatory and analgesic effects occur.15

Results of Peppermint oil and relaxation of bronchial smooth muscles, increase in the ventilation and brain oxygen concentration, and decrease in the blood lactate level are the most plausible explanations on enhanced exercise performance with athletes.16

Peppermint and Eucalyptus on nausea and headache, secretolytic and and anti microbial effects.17

Eucalyptus application by either vapor inhalation or oral route provides benefit for both purulent and non-purulent respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).18

Eucalyptus globulus (E. globulus) which they find applications as anesthetic, anodyne, antiseptic, astringent, deodorant, diaphoretic, disinfectant, expectorant, febrifuge, fumigant, hemostat, inhalant, insect repellant, preventitive, rubefacient, sedative yet stimulant, vermifuge, for a folk remedy for abscess, arthritis, asthma, boils, bronchitis, burns, cancer, diabetes, diarrhea, diphtheria, dysentery, encephalitis, enteritis, erysipelas, fever, flu, inflammation, laryngalgia, laryngitis, leprosy, malaria, mastitis, miasma, pharygnitis, phthisis, rhinitis, sores, sore throat, spasms, trachalgia, worms, and wounds.19

Peppermint oil exhibited antispasmodic activity on rat trachea.20

2. EO in SJMO vs. Coagulation of human plasma

A medical journal compared Peppermint oil with platelet aggression or how clotting at times occurs on airline flights.  When the barometric pressure lowers, it induces platelet aggregation — the platelets clump together. It also says that Japanese peppermint oil inhibits this aggregation.21

Topical Methyl salicylate or Wintergreen oil significantly decreases platelet aggregation in healthy human volunteers.22

Study demonstrated antiplatelet properties of lavender oil towards platelet aggregation induced by arachidonic acid on guinea-pig platelet rich plasma (PRP) and its ability to destabilize clot retraction.23

Clove oil inhibited human platelet aggregation induced by arachidonic acid (AA), platelet-activating factor (PAF) or collagen. Clove oil was a more effective inhibitor for aggregation induced by AA and PAF.24

3, EO in SJMO vs. Cytotoxic venom

Cytotoxic venom is generally composed of several digestive enzymes and spreading factors, which result in local and systemic injury.  Clinically, local effects progressing from pain and edema to ecchymosis (bleeds under the skin) and bullae (watery blisters) most commonly predominate.  Hematological abnormalities including benign defibrination with or without thrombocytopenia (increased bleeding and decreased clotting) may result, but severe generalized bleeding is not common.  Pain and swelling occurs almost immediately after the bite from a cytotoxic snake and gradually becomes worse, in the next few hours. (Within 4 to 6 hours it will be more pronounced) It is often described as “cold fire” Later shock develops and this may cause death.25

Peppermint oil exhibited potent anti-inflammatory activities in a croton oil-induced mouse ear edema model.  It could also effectively inhibit nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages.  The cytotoxic effect was assessed against four human cancer cells. MEO was found to be significantly active against human lung carcinoma SPC-A1, human leukemia K562 and human gastric cancer SGC-7901 cells, with an IC50 value of 10.89, 16.16 and 38.76 µg/ml, respectively. In addition, MEO had moderate antioxidant activity.26

Other countries are already doing trials on the Anti-hemolytic and Anti-cytotoxicity Effect of Two Essential Oil against Snake Venom.27

Let’s go back to my friend with the dog.  His dog was administered the above antivenom which is:

1. Designed for scorpions not rattlesnakes

2. Antibiotics also were added

3. Two other drugs for pain and swelling

4. EO in SJMO vs. Necrosis

In this study of essential oils countering tumor necrosis, geranium essential oils used as antiinflammatory remedies suppress neutrophil activation by TNF-a at a low concentration (0.0125/0.025%) in vitro, and was one of the strongest suppressing activity oils.  Lavender and Eucalyptus were also successful.  Lavender was not as effective as Geranium, yet its aid at countering necrossis from the study stated it could be explained by other mechanisms, because they also suppress degranulation of mast cells or cytokine production.  Remember cytotoxic venom above?

The study also states:

“it is possible that essential oils suppress the neutrophil adhesion through signal transduction below the receptor interaction to the ligands TNF and LPS in membrane, because the oils are known to affect the physiological condition of cell membranes.”

NOTE: Neutrophil is any cell, structure, or histologic element readily stainable with neutral dyes.

NOTE: Adhesion is a fibrous band or structure by which parts abnormally adhere.

And in addition, the above study showed DMSO (0.4%) to the medium has no significant effects on snake venom.27

Another example of cytotoxicity or the anti tumor effect of essential oils, NCBI has shown Frankincense oil appears to distinguish cancerous from normal bladder cells and suppress cancer cell viability.28

In addition, there are many out there that claim essential oils are toxic and can be harmful.  Some can, as they are not to be used as a drink.  Essential oils generally are applied topical or inhaled, but should not be taken orally or internally as a drink or food.29

Back to the rattlesnake bite, inflammation is a reaction that needs to be controlled.  Wintergreen has shown very strong effects against inflammation in an arthritis study30, and data elsewhere on this website shows other oils here have anti-inflammatory effects as well.

On humans, usually an ER gives an antivenom and tetanus shot.31

Dogs are given general antivenom, and the antibiotics and some pain medications.  On Pubmed, it references what types of antivenom are used for pit viper snakes, or in this case for rattlesnakes in the USA:

“…There is currently only one antivenom available in the United States for the treatment of pit viper envenomation,  Antivenin (Crotalidae) Polyvalent (ACP)…”32

Here Prednisolone was applied to dogs that had received rattlesnake bite.  These were the results:

– None of the dogs died during the study period.

– The mental status was reduced in 60/75 (80%) of dogs on Day 1, compared to 19/75 (25%) on Day 2.

– The proportion of dogs with no or only mild edema increased significantly from Day 1 to Day 2.

– About one-third of the dogs developed gastrointestinal signs during the study period.

– Cardiac arrhythmia was uncommon.

– Clinicopathological changes included increased total leucocyte count, CRP and troponin concentration on Day 2.

– The cTnI concentration was increased in dogs with systemic inflammation, compared to dogs without systemic inflammation.

– A single dose of prednisolone did not significantly affect any of the clinical or clinicopathological parameters studied, except for a higher monocyte count on Day 2 in dogs that had received prednisolone treatment.

The results in the study were:

“…The results of the present study do not support routine administration of a single dose of prednisolone 1 mg/kg subcutaneously in dogs bitten by Vipera berus…”33

The canine rattlesnake vaccine comprises venom components from Crotalus atrox (western diamondback).  In addition, it also states on the Animal Medical Center website specifically regarding this rattlesnake antivenom in the USA:

“The vaccine however does not provide protection against the Mojave rattlesnake, Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake, cottonmouths or coral snakes.”34

In a study of Current Treatment for Venom-Induced Consumption Coagulopathy Resulting from Snakebite, ultimately results showed:

Antivenom is the major treatment for VICC, but there is little high-quality evidence to support its effectiveness.”35

Why did his vet administer scorpion antivenom?  Perhaps he did not have a supply of specific rattlesnake venom, but only his ER vet knows best why.  Antivenom is made for spiders, or other creatures that have no relevance to snake venom or treatment.  Above research clearly prescribes rattlesnake vaccine from W. diamondback does not work for others.

Serotherapy vs. Snake venom

Serotherapy is a treatment that consists of the administration of specific serums that promote self-healing of our body whether through vitamins, nutrition or in this case snake venom.  In Sao Paulo, Brazil there was a study showing the authors report a case of bothropic envenoming in a male Cocker Spaniel.  The animal was bitten in the ventral thoracic region, receiving treatment 4 hours later.  Clinical examination revealed an extensive, painful and area of firm edema, absence of local or systemic hemorrhage, without evident neurological alterations.  Clinical diagnosis was mild bothropic envenoming.   Treatment consisted of 5 vials of polyvalent snake antivenom, two vials administered intravenously and three subcutaneously.

Blood clotting time was always within normal values.

Two days after envenoming, the animal showed hyperthermia and received enrofloxacin (5mg/kg/24h) for 10 days and ketoprofen (1mg/kg/24h) for 5 days.  Seventy-two hours after envenoming, extensive subcutaneous, muscle fiber, and skin necrosis of approximately 10 cm in diameter was observed.

After débridement of necrotic tissues, the area was cleaned with antiseptic solutions.  Complete healing was observed 55 days after envenoming.

The authors discuss whether heterologous serotherapy is effective in preventing tissue necrosis after bothropic envenoming:

“In conclusion, these results are in agreement with the generally accepted view that local tissue damage induced by snake venoms is difficult to prevent by serotherapy.”36

When my friend told me the second dog was still alive but  had the same effects as first dog, he mentioned that it had not been taken  to an ER by the owners yet.

I asked him had it been given anything, and he responded by stating the owners did not, hoping it would heal.  He told me he was visiting the family and dog to see an update that day.  I told him to bring a bottle of the Miracle oil with him and apply it immediately to the dog’s wounds in case of infection.

Since the dog had no treatment and was in pain and infected, I felt something may help, and our oil is not toxic to dogs when applied topically.  The other dog passed away the night before.  None of the shots above worked, as snake bites are attempted to be controlled where it doesn’t get worse with medications and the antibodies are used in the hope of countering the venom.  Back to his second dog.  He told me the dog was experiencing similar results from the rattlesnake bite, swelling, edema, bleeding, necrosis, etc.

He sent me notes on the history on both dogs, and he kindly shared them with me to post on this article:

6/10/2016- Irish Terrier “Bria” was bit in the late afternoon/early evening by a rattlesnake on face.  Snake was never found.

Bria was taken to emergency room in obvious pain- potentially several hours after bite occurance.  After treatment she became non-responsive, heavy breathing, and still in obvious pain when forced to take medication/liquids.

Note: Vet informed that the snake bite location on her face should not have effected breathing.

Treatment outline/prescriptions (1 pill given for Qty listed during time):

Description                                  Qty

Antivenen (Bioclon)/Vial                               1

Buprenex (0.3 mg/ml) Injection/ml          1

Cephalexin 250 mg. Capsules                      14

Tramadol HCL 50mg                                        30

Results: Bria was non-responsive/zombie-like immediately following initial treatment.  Taken home for the night.  Dead by morning- having never changed position.  Bria passed away by morning.

6/11/2016 a second pet was struck on the leg and possibly face (no facial marking, but large swelling)….snake was still not found.

6/12/2016- SJMO applied- ears, stomach, paw pads- 3pm

6/15/2016- SJMO still being applied- ears, stomach, paw pads, around wound (not on wound directly though)- 1-2 times daily on average (Photo 2: Note scab necrosis, inflammation from rattlesnake venom)

6/18/16SJMO applied on wounds bright pink, not necrotic, after three days of directly applying to wound as well as other areas

6/19/16- SJMO application seems to have reduced swelling, infection and inflammation of rattlesnake bite:

NOTE: photo above was last day SJMO was applied.  Owners purchased DMSO product to apply as a self remedy instead.

Close up shows wound is healing, good color, no necrosis, or dead tissue from scabbing.

7/1/2016- Informed by friend that owners purchased DMSO purchased at a Vet clinic, and has been applied to wound daily for about 10 days.  Informed SJMO was being applied the first 7-10 days and then was stopped.

7/4/2016- SJMO has not been used for weeks at this time.  Wound appears to have scabbed over/healing.

Side note: During course of treatment, owner discovered large cancerous tumor on stomach of dog.  Dog has irritated wound by scratching, post surgery/removal.

NOTE: inflammation, dead tissue, clear swelling seems to have returned on dog.

In final, I do not know the current update of the dog and it’s rattlesnake bite toxicity level nor it’s condition.  We do see at least on an anecdotal trial, the SJMO seems to have improved the rattlesnake bite venom response comparing necrotic tissue and the bright pink wound later seeming to be healthier.  In speculation, we do not have any pure blind tests here, but perhaps the anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-histaminic and anti-bacterial agents of the essential oils in the SJMO (see references) may have been the improvement during the time it was used.  Unfortunately we will never know.  Consumers have used the oil for insect bites, and on pets we have referenced research on ticks, fleas, mosquitos and other insects.  Perhaps in the future we can also look at future clinical trials with certain essential oils and the efficacy on not only snake venom, but insects, ticks, marine animals, scorpions and others as well.

William Vandry


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