As the weather gets warmer it brings with it the danger of snakes. They are coming out of hibernation to soak up the spring sunshine. It is important to know the signs of poisoning so you can seek veterinary treatment immediately.
There are many types of venomous snakes in Australia but brown snakes are most commonly responsible for snakebites and snakebite deaths in both animals and humans.
When the snakes bite they inject venom, which contain a variety of toxins. The signs of snakebites vary depending on factors such as type of snake venom, location of bite and amount of venom injected. Dogs are more commonly bitten on the face or jaw, cats on their paws.
Signs may include:
•Depression, salivation, vomiting and dilated pupils
•Trembling, unsteadiness, hind leg weakness and worsening paralysis
•Respiratory distress, complete paralysis and coma
•Some animals may collapse suddenly then appear to recover before showing above signs up to an hour later. Death can occur with 2 hours of snakebite
Treatment can be expensive and generally involves giving anti venom. If the snake is not identified the choice can be made on geographical area, snake venom detection kits or several anti venoms can be given. It would also involve your pet being hospitalised for fluid therapy and monitoring for complications.
First aid includes keeping you pet quiet and applying a firm bandage of any material over and around the bite site – if practical. Carry your pet to avoid speeding the spread of the venom. The best defence is to avoid walking or playing in areas of bushland or long grass, especially in summer. Keep your yard free of long grass or piles of wood or rubbish and keep the rat and mice population under control.
If you think you pet has been bitten, get to your vet immediately. The sooner the treatment is started, the greater the chances of survival.
Do not try to catch or kill the snake as you may be bitten. Instead contact “Fauna For the Future” on 0404 387 215 who are highly trained to remove our slithering visitors.
If your pet has already killed the snake, and it is safe to do so bring it with you to the clinic, as this will help us to identify it so we can give your pet the correct anitvenom.