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Can An Electric Shock Neutralize Snake Venom?

Can an electric jolt from a DC source (i.e., spark plug wire, hand-held stunner) neutralize snake venom? I recall a series of articles on this published in the late '60s by an outdoor magazine.

Question:

Can an electric jolt from a DC source (i.e., spark plug wire, hand-held stunner) neutralize snake venom? I recall a series of articles on this published in the late ’60s by an outdoor magazine. The DC current allegedly polarized the molecules of the venom.

Submitted by - -Dan, Fairfield, OH

Answer:

It was a great idea that took up a bunch of space in medical journals for several years. The idea emerged from a remote clinic, I think in Ecuador or a similar spot, and the doc there thought electrifying snakebites would indeed neutralize the venom. He published his thoughts. People began doing all sorts of stuff in the field, including using their battery cables when they got back to their vehicles, and saying "Hey, I shocked myself and I didn’t die from the snakebite." Good thing they didn’t die from the shock!

Anyway, labs started testing the thesis, and no one was ever able to reduce the potency of snake venom (numerous species were tested, by the way) with electricity. So, in short, it doesn’t work. The definitive treatment, the one that always works, is antivenin. In the meantime, stay calm, gently wash where the snake bit, remove anything that could cut off circulation if you swell (like rings and watches), splint a bitten extremity, get to help, and don’t electrocute yourself.—BUCK

2 Comments

  1. dana-douthitt

    Hi, my grandfather read an article about it in the early 1990s and began implementing it on his hunting dogs, then himself, then me, then our entire neighborhood and their pets. It definitely works. I have no idea exactly why, but it does. He passed away in his 80′s after living a long life. We have not ever used it for snake bites on a human (as none of us were bitten), but by the results I have personally experienced the last 20 years, I would definitely bet my life on it as a first aid measure. We utilized a basic appliance cord and normally an ATV. It saved countless animals from snake bites and we used it for all stings and my brown recluse bite that I do not even have a noticeable scar from. I have heard though that the stun gun devices are too undependable to utilize, so I stick to ATVs and lawnmowers.

    Avatar of dana-douthitt
  2. John

    I mean, far be it from me to say one way or another without evidence, but it’s been shown that electric shock lowers blood pH significantly, and the phospholipase enzymes that make up bee and snake venom are pH-sensitive just like other enzymes, so it wouldn’t be insane to think this could work, I’d think…

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