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Physiology of Stingray Venom

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- Optimum Conditions

Effects of Stingray Envenomation

Treatments References & Relevant Sites





After getting stung by a stingray, one should make sure to wash out the wound with whatever diluents are available, which in many cases is seawater.  Any visible parts of the spine or sheath should also be removed (Evans and Davies, 1996).  Since sharks and stingrays are cartilaginous, spine fragments might not be visible with radiographic technology.  Magnetic resonance imaging is helpful in locating foreign bodies in the wound (Diaz, 2008).  Fortunately, almost half of all stingrays (45%) have damaged integumentary sheaths due to injuries of their own so many stings will result in trauma but no envenomation. It is also very important to soak the wound in hot water – around 40 degrees Celsius in order to inactivate the thermolabile venom (Evans and Davies, 1996). The soaking of the injury in hot water accelerates the denaturing of the toxin (Germain et al., 2000). In areas with stingray populations, lifeguards will sometimes keep rows of warm water in buckets along the beach (Tennesen, 2005). In a clinical review of 119 cases of stings in the California area over an 8-year period, 88% of patients had complete pain relief within 30 minutes of immersing their injuries in hot water. Antibiotics are also essential in preventing secondary infection of the wound, especially by coliform bacteria commonly found in marine environments (Clark et al., 2007). Below is a table listing the clinical treatments used for three separate stingray injury cases.

Table 4. Sites, symptoms, and treatments in 3 separate cases of stingray injuries (Dehghani et al., 2009).

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