With the warmer weather finally upon us, snakes are becoming much more active, resulting in an increase in the number of dogs and cats presenting to the clinic requiring treatment.
The most common snakes seen in the Braidwood area are tiger snakes, brown snakes, black snakes and copper heads. All of these snakes are extremely venomous meaning pet owners must to respond quickly is they suspect a snake bite.
Dogs and cats are most often bitten around the head and limbs. Generally, the closer the bite is to the heart the quicker the venom will be absorbed into the pet’s system and distributed around the body.
Due to the thick coats on dogs and cats, it is rare to locate an actual bite wound, meaning we often only know our pet has been bitten after they start showing symptoms.
Signs we see in dogs and cats if they have bitten by a snake can include: trembling, agitation, salivation, vomiting, shaking or twitching of the muscles, difficulty breathing, weakness or paralysis, pale gums, dilated (large) pupils, blood in their urine, collapse or death.
In some cases dogs will collapse initially and then appear to recover within a few minutes of being bitten. The danger is not over at this point and these dogs are likely to relapse and deteriorate very rapidly within hours.
If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep it calm and quiet and contact your nearest Veterinary Clinic immediately. The chances of recovery are significantly greater if your pet is treated early. If left untreated, the survival rate is much lower, with the majority of animals dying.
When you bring your pet in to the clinic, the vet will thoroughly examine it for signs of possible snake bite. If on presentation there are no clinical signs of a bite, we will advise that you leave your pet with us for close observation, with treatment only being administered when we are confident that the signs we are presented with are those of a snake bite.
Do not put yourself or others at risk by attempting to identify a snake. Individual species of snake can vary in colour and pattern considerably and are all but impossible to definitively identify, other than by experienced snake handlers. To treat your pet, we use polyvalent snake antivenom, which allows use to treat your pet for all types of snakes. If your pet has killed a snake, you therefore do not need to bring the snake in to us to be identified.
If you are concerned about a snake in your backyard, you can contact NARG (Native Animal Rescue Group) on 02 4846 1900. NARG will be able to assist you with advice, and if required the remova and relocation of your unwanted visitor. Please don’t try to kill the snake, or move it yourself, as this is the most common reason people are bitten.
If you think your pet has been bitten give Braidwood Veterinary Surgery a call on 02 4842 2697
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