With the weather warming up, so are our slithering friends.
Snakes are now on the move. Some of the more common types of snakes that will be seen are brown snakes and the red-bellied black snakes both in which are highly venomous.
If your dog or cat does encounter a snake and has been bitten or you suspect it may have it is very important to seek assistance straight away even if it is not yet showing signs.
The signs of a snake bite vary according to the type of snake and the amount of venom. Brown Snakes and Tiger Snakes have a strong neurotoxin in their venom which causes a rapid paralysis which will quickly lead to respiratory muscle paralysis which can then be extremely fatal. You must seek veterinary help immediately.
Black snakes do not typically cause paralysis, although it does sometimes occur briefly. They have a toxin that causes the red blood cells and muscles to break down. When this breakdown occurs it is then filtered out by the kidneys. During this process the kidneys become damaged and it often results in acute kidney failure. This is often once of the first signs in dogs and by then it is often too late to treat.
If at all possible try to take a photo or remember what the snake looks like so that the details can be given to the vet, It can assist us to determine the right treatment for that particular snake’s venom.
Typical signs of a snake bite can include:
- Excessive thirst
- Dark or red urine
- Swelling and pain at the bite site.
- Respiratory distress
If caught early, we can provide emergency treatment which often includes anti-venom, fluid therapy, oxygen therapy, monitoring & blood tests. Dogs need to be treated within the first hour of the incident occurring and require further monitoring for the next 24-72 hours. Cats also require immediate treatment, but they do not tend to be as sensitive to the venom as our canine companions and as such have a bigger window of opportunity to still treat.