How Does It Work

Exerpts from EchoTech

"In the laboratory we are trying to determine how the electric shock actually deactivates the venom, or what protein components the shock affects and how. This would give us the scientific basis to say how the shock works, not just that it appears to on trial." [The electric field changes the three-dimensional structure of the toxin, converting the venom to inert material. The shock eliminates the venom's biological activity.]

To be effective, the skin should be washed (with alcohol, if available) and dried; sweat is a good conductor. Ground the plate on the opposite side of the bite and apply the shock on the bite marks for best penetration of the skin (skin is very resistant, and 15,000-20,000 volts are needed to penetrate it). After this first aid is applied, send the patient to a medical center for evaluation. They should take 2 cc's of blood and put it in a clear tube undisturbed for 20 minutes. Tilt after 20 minutes; if a clot has formed, the patient should be fine. Repeat this test every 6 hours for 48 hours, and if clots still form, the patient may go home. If clots do not form, give antivenom; this may be necessary if treatment is delayed.

Exerpts from Outdoor Life magazine

Why Does It Work?

The biological reason electroshock treatment neutralizes the incompatible alien proteins of snake venom remains unclear. Besides proteins, snake venom contains enzymes and trace elements that could easily be uncoupled or ionized by high-voltage electricity. In the New England medical journal, The Lancet (Dec. 6, 1986), C. Kroege and K H. Meyer propose the theory that electricity may neutralize the snake venom by destroying the secondary and tertiary structures of enzymes by influencing their hydrogen bonds.

High voltage electricity may also reduce metal ions that are attached to harmful enzymes, thus making these enzymes no longer destructive. Also since body tissue is negatively charged and snake venom is positively charged, unlike charges attract. With the application of electricity, venom may become negatively charged, thus negating its magnetic attraction to body tissue.