Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bacon makes EVERYTHING better!

The internet is truly a wonderous thing. Some days I wonder how I lived without it for so many years. You can find almost anything online in seconds.... myself, I've recently found a new cupholder for my car, an awesome Han-Solo-in-carbonite phone cover, and an amazing recipe for tiramisu with homemade ladyfingers.

There are also plenty of great pet websites out there, with tons of good information on caring for your 4-legged family members, and medical information on any number of disease processes. HOWEVER, it would serve the reader well to remember to use common sense in vetting a particular site, as any yahoo with a keyboard can post some nonsensical BS posing as "medical advice". A client phone call over the weekend drove this point home.

Working in an emergency veterinary hospital in the desert is guaranteed to bring lots of phone calls about rattlesnake bites, especially in the spring, when the little buggers are coming out of hibernation and are rested and ready for a fight. Here is the condensed version of the phone call:

Gullible Client: "My dog just brought a Mojave green rattlesnake up to the house in his mouth."
Vet Tech: "It's possible he got bit and your dog should be seen right away. The cost is $XXX."
GC: "I think I'll go feed him a pound of bacon."

Now, as completely crazy as this sounds, amazingly it was not the first time this had been heard. Turns out there was a similar phone call about 2 weeks ago, with the words "pound of bacon". So in between LMAO and scratching my head, I started wondering what on earth these folks were thinking (and if it was super important that it be exactly a POUND?). So I headed to the sometimes-trusty internet. While I found nothing specific about 'one pound of bacon', the results left me laughing and shaking my head even harder.

First I found this: (warning... read only if you can handle high levels of questionable intelligence)

It would appear there is an old wives' tale about bacon grease, butter and lard 'absorbing the poison' after being fed to snake-bit dogs. Well shoot, that's yet ANOTHER day of vet school that I missed - it's amazing that I graduated at all. Bacon grease in the gut absorbs toxins from the blood? That is some crazy-a** anatomy there, my friends.

Then I found this: (the same warning applies)

One responder writes: "in the summertime feed your dogs bacon grease in their food on a weekly basis. if they get bit feed them baby aspirin as much as 5-6 if the dog is big...... the bacon grease, or beef fat is supposed to add additional fat layers in their skin and reduces how much of the venom actually spreads thru the body. i guess it isolates it."

Who knew that it paid to keep your dog fat?? And now I know that if I inadvertently sit on a rattler and get bit on the a**, I'll be just fine, thank you very much. ;)

Seriously folks, don't try this at home. Your dog will get pancreatitis, and might bleed out after getting bit, from all the aspirin.

The moral of the story is: Don't believe everything you read on the internet. Or that your friends tell you.... they might not be so bright either.

Footnote: The dog in question did come in, and was fine, other than some of the snake's blood on his fur. I wanted to ask the owner if the visit was pre-bacon or post-bacon, but I just could not do it with a straight face.


  1. Must be why all of my many herpetologist friends love bacon.

  2. This reminded me of an old Monty Python bit about questionable home vet care:

    Mrs. Conclusion: We've decided to have the budgie put down.

    Mrs. Premise: Oh, is it very old, then?

    Mrs. Conclusion: No, we just don't like it.

    Mrs. Premise: Ohh...How do they put budgies down?

    Mrs. Conclusion: It's funny you should ask that. I've been
    reading a great big book on how to put your budgie down, and evidently, you can either hit them with the book or you can shoot them there, just above the beak.

    Mrs. Premise: Mmmm...Mrs. Essence flushed hers down the loo.

    Mrs. Conclusion: Oh, that's dangerous, 'cause they breed in the
    sewers and eventually you get huge evil smelling flocks of soiled
    budgies flying out of peoples lavatories infringing their
    personal freedom.

  3. Oddly, I think that the bacon grease thing might work with things like baclofen or ivermectin toxicity...any of the lipid bound stuff. As long as you can get enough fat in the system to up the lipid level in the blood.

    Of course, then there is the thought that even a sick dog will eat bacon. Of course, the bacon "cured them."

  4. I would love to see a peer-reviewed study on this. Feed a pound of bacon to a number of dogs with different levels of rattlesnake toxin in their systems and see how many of them actually get better.

  5. The cure I like the best on that website was.. "almost every year we read about some old timer that cures snake bites by shocking the wound with a hot spark plug wire".
    The there was the genius who explained why it worked, "I guess the heat from a electrical current might have some kind of neutralizing effect on the toxin, or the heat draws it out."

    At least there were a few people telling them what idiots they were..

  6. I intend to add this protocol to our Wilderness EMT curriculum.

    "Will the bacon counteract the venom?"

    "No, but if you're gonna die, might as well die with a bellyful of BACON."

  7. The bacon grease cure is the old wise tale around here for curing upset stomach. I often have a desire to make the clients eat some and let me know how well it works!

  8. Well I know bacon and eggs does wonders for a hangover ;)

  9. For those that enjoy reading about stupid, this post was recently started: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/659995/dumbest-things-people-have-said-about-your-chickens-eggs-meat

    I found it rather shocking! I knew people could be stupid, but surely there must be a limit to it somehwere. Apparently not.

  10. My dad did this after his dog was bit by a rattle snake. Dogs fine, and it's at least 10 years later.

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