SNAKE BITE AND STUN GUN TREATMENT

Much has been written over the years concerning stun gun electric shock treatment of venomous snake bite and of certain venomous insect bites/stings. Much of it anecdotal in nature.
I have provided on this page, my knowledge and experience involving the stun gun treatment process.

Caveat
<<I would like to preface my commentary with this caveat: The American Medical Association and the CDC DO NOT recommend stun gun (HVDC) therapy for venomous bite/sting treatment.>>

Research
All of the research which has been conducted by the medical profession has utilized animal studies and most of these studies have failed to provide any positive information in support of HVDC treatment.
Of interest in this concept is that there is a big difference between animals and human beings.  The first being the size of the subject, and secondly, most animals when bitten by a snake go in to total body shut down, not only from the envenomation, but also from the physical shock from the attack. Natures provides this as protection from the horror of being eaten alive.
I personally believe that the only meaningful information would have to come from human being treatment models. However, that information will only be available from real life experience and as such will continue to be anecdotal.
Medical science denies that HVDC therapy can possible work, and any anecdotal 'success' is attributed to the probability that no envenomation occurred or the person involved was wrong about the snake/insect being venomous!

Background
I first heard about High Voltage/Direct Current (HVDC) or stun gun,  electrical shock therapy for venomous bites in 1991 while living in Georgia where the bites of rattlesnakes and water moccasins are quite common. I read a medical article in the Georgia Medical Association Journal at that time which supported the concept.
I have a copy of that article somewhere, but have been unable to locate it, when I do I will reference it on this site.

HVDC has been used to treat envenomation from several sources including snake bites, spider bites, scorpion, wasp and bee stings.
My sister, Dr Jean Kincaid MD PhD, who was Chief of Staff of the Public Health Service Hospital in Ada, OK was an ardent supporter of HVDC treatment for poisonous snake bites and brown recluse spider bites and found it to be quite effective.
I personally am extremely allergic to hymenopterous insects (wasps and bees) and go into anaphylactic shock when stung.
The first time I was stung and had the hyper-allergic reaction, requiring medical intervention was in Florida  (1987) where I was treated with Benadryl®.
After that episode, I made certain that I always had an epinephrine anaphylactic kit close at hand. (EpiKit ®)



Personal Experience
My sister (1993)  then suggested that I obtain a low voltage (25KV) stun gun for future episodes rather than using the anaphylactic kit. She then proceeded to purchase one for me as a present. I still carry it to this day. It is a 25KV mini-stun gun.
I have had occasion to use it on multiple episodes over the years with excellent results.
I have to admit it is still quite an effort to overcome the reluctance to shock myself, but watching the swelling and redness develop along with the increasing difficulty in breathing, quickly causes me to ‘get-r-dun’.
Even though it is not recommended in all of the literature, I have even used it on my scalp once when I was attacked by a group of wasps who took umbrage at my destroying their nest with wasp spray.
I called my sister on the phone before applying the shock and had her stand by listening while I was shocking my scalp, just in case something undesired occurred, however, other than the unpleasant shock, no undue problems occurred.
I live out in the country on a small ranch and would probably never make it to medical assistance before I get into deep trouble.

Method
I usually use 4 cross lesion shocks, rotating the contact points around the sting site for each application.
This results in marked decrease in pain, swelling and redness in just a few minutes (less than 15 minutes) and reverses the constricted breathing symptoms immediately.
Even though the literature recommends seeking medical follow-up after HVDC treatment, I have never felt compelled to do so, and have suffered no ill sequella.

When I use the device, I keep the shock time to about 1 second for each discharge. More than that is quite painful, and causes severe muscle spasm. According to the literature, it also does not appear to be any more beneficial to increase the exposure time.
Other than using the device on myself, I have not had any personal experience with HVDC shock treatment, but am convinced that it does work.
It is important to assure that BOTH contact points/leads are firmly in contact with the flesh, otherwise arcing may occur which can cause tissue burns.

I have read references where it is recommended to also apply a shock directly through the lesion, this requires attaching a wire to the contact points and placing the wires on either side of the member involved, thus sending the current through the site of envenomation to the other side of the finger or leg. Obviously this would not work on the head or trunk.
Device Resources
I have been able to locate one low voltage stun gun with 65KV on the internet at www.ddsp.com)
The site that my sister obtained the one she gave me (25KV) is no longer in service.

I did find another site that offered a 40KV mini-stun gun, however they are asking $85.00 for that device which I personally believe is too high. I did not peruse the site to discover it in fact they still have it available.
 Most stun guns available today  at gun stores start at about 90KV, and it is STRONGLY recommended that you do NOT use a device stronger than 75KV, and I concur with that advice.
Not only does the shock frequently not provide the results intended, but tissue damage can develop from that amount of current.
I might add, that it would be quite difficult to convince yourself to push the button the second time, as it very painful.
If you locate another source for lower voltage stun guns, please let me know so I can post it on this site.

Alternative HVDC source
Most of the anecdotal evidence comes form South America and Africa, where HVDC is commonly used to treat poisonous snake bites. They do not always have a handy low voltage stun gun readily available in these areas!
An  alternative source of HVDC is from the ignition of a small engine such as an outboard motors, motorcycles or lawn mower engine.  These ignitions provide a variable voltage of between 4,000 and 40,000 volts at about 1 or 2 mA.
There are several reports of people using the ignition from an automobile or truck engine with good results and no serious side affects.
Please note: I am NOT recommending these sources, but in extreme situations people have to do extreme things. I personally think a small burn is better than loosing a limb or your life.

My Opinion
My thoughts on this subject are that any one who is venturing out into the wilderness where poisonous snakes reside or who, like myself, lives in such an area, certainly would not be doing themselves a disservice in carrying a low voltage stun gun along.
The device will probably not cause any damage, and it could potentially save your life or limb.
I provide this statement not as medical advice, but as an opinion based on my personal experience.

A little humor
I have a cartoon that someone forwarded to me via the internet concerning the subject of snakebite. It show a couple of cowboys out in the middle of nowhere, one of which has a snake bite on his private parts, and a decapitated rattlesnake lying nearby. The other cowboy is putting his smoking gun back in the holster and commenting, “Jake, I guess you’re just going to have to die, as I ain’t suckin’ the poison out of that bite”.
I wanted to post it with this article, but it would probably cause some to take offense even though the cartoon is rather anatomically crude and in no way depicts pornographic intent.

Other Sources of Information
I have included several web site URLs concerning this subject below.
All of them are positive and supportive of the concept,  the most famous is by Bayou Bob. However, as I mentioned above there is plenty of negative sites available also.

Everyone should make their own decision concerning this controversial treatment concept.

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This url will take you to the web site of Dr Stan Abrams MD who routinely treats brown recluse spider bites with a stun gun. This site has several photos showing how to use the gun.

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http://www.spiderbitetreatment.com/minisguse.htm


Welcome to the Venom Electric Shock Website!
Introduction
For over 60 years electric shock has been used as first aid in treating venomous bites and stings in Third World countries. Using the spark plug wire of an internal combustion engine to treat scorpion stings is a folkloric remedy that dates back to at least the 1940s [1]. Later, in the 80's and 90's, first aid shock therapy studies were published regarding snake by Guderian[2] and Mueller[3] [4] and spider bites by Osborn [5][6][7][8] . When no medical facilities nor antivenom are accessible, first aid electric shock has been touted as an acceptable alternative. However an adequate source and method of delivering the shock still remains a challenge.
http://venomshock.wikidot.com

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PLEASE NOTE: I have left this reference listed in this article as originally it was very supportive of shock therapy for snake bites; however, the article has recently been removed without comment or reference, I suspect due to outside intervention and pressure.

Wilderness and Environmental Medicine: Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 111–117.   
Use of stun guns for venomous bites and stings: a review
E. BEN WELCH, PharmD; BARRY J. GALES, PharmD

http://www.wemjournal.org/wmsonline/?request=get-document&issn=1080-6032&volume=012&issue=02&page=0111
 ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ PLEASE NOTE: I have left this reference listed in this article as originally it was very supportive of shock therapy for snake bites; however, the article has recently been removed without comment or reference, I suspect due to outside intervention and pressure.
Bayou Bob's site still makes a short reference to using shock treatment for snake bite in his first aide section, but is not specifically recommended.

A Discussion of Traditional Snake Bite Treatment
by Bayou Bob, circa, 1997

Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch
POB 1655 D
Weatherford, Texas 76086

http://www.wf.net/~snake/firsdisc.htm


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 ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ PLEASE NOTE: I have left this reference listed in this article as originally it was very supportive of shock therapy for snake bites; however, the article has recently been removed without comment or reference, I suspect due to outside intervention and pressure.

Rattlesnake first aids - snakebite - Brief Article
Whole Earth,  Winter, 1997  by Peter Warshall,  Michael K. Stone

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0GER/is_n91/ai_20116112


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"A  Shock  Cure for Snakebite"

The following is  a  summation  and series of quotes from a two part
article that appeared in OUTDOOR  LIFE  magazine.   The  name of the
article is "A  Shock  Cure for Snakebite" and was written  by  Larry
Mueller. Part 1 of the article was in the June 1988 issue and Part 2
was in the July 1988 issue.

http://keelynet.com/biology/snake1.txt

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This is another source for low voltage stun guns that I have found on the internet.
Go to the bottom of the page for the 65KV gun, which is reasonably priced.

http://www.ddsp.com/stun-guns.htm#sg01


A reader of this page recently contacted me regarding another low voltage stun gun source.
This one is located in Italy where HVDC therapy for envenomation is medically legal.
It is called the "ECOSAVE" and appears to be very well designed. However, it also is somewhat expensive, plus you have to pay international postage.
 They have an excellent information site
at Eco-Save
If you contact them to purchase, you must provide the fact you are from the USA in your email.

 
 

         

The url below will take you to a New York Times article which also supports this controversial treatment protocol.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9A0DE2D9113EF936A3575BC0A960948260

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SCIENTIFIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

"The Lancet"
"High voltage shock treatment for snake bite" - 26/7/86 pag. 229;
"biological basis for high voltage shock treatment for snake bite" - 6/12/86 pag. 1335;
"stun gun and snakebites" - 12/11/88 pag. 1141;
"electric shock treatment for snake bite" - 6/5/89 pag. 1022.

 

This page reviewed, but unchanged 6/22/2013




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