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Dogs & snake bites

Posted on 30th Apr 2014 @ 10:12 PM

 Dogs & snake bites

 Living in a semi-rural area we have a higher chance of coming in contact with a snake, especially in the summer months as they are more active then.

We must always be diligent in checking our pets each day, know what normal is for them & any deviation from this may mean a trip to the vets. Dogs are natural hunters, so when walking along that local bush track, keep your dog on the lead as the snakes hide under the trees & foliage. Look out for the warning signs that your dog may have been bitten.

Protect your pets from snakes

Snakes are attracted to food and water sources and safe, quiet places to hide. To make your backyard less appealing to snakes keep the grass cut low and your property clear of piles of rubbish and other objects where snakes may be able to hide (e.g., wood piles).

If snakes are common in your area you could consider building a snake-proof fence around all or part of your property.  

What to do?

Dogs come in all sizes & varieties so they are going to have different reactions. A Chihuahua will be affected by the venom a lot quicker than a Great Dane. Don’t wash the area. Don’t worry too much about identifying the snake as the anti-venom at the vets will be universal. It is also worthwhile asking your Vet where is the closest emergency Vet holding the anti-venom, so you know where to go without hesitation. At the beginning of summer, snakes’ venom glands are fuller and their bites more severe.

The tiger and brown snake are responsible for most of the snake bites in domestic pets and can be fatal. Signs of a snake bite include:

•    Sudden weakness followed by collapse.
•    Shaking or twitching of the muscles and difficulty blinking.
•    Vomiting.
•    Loss of bladder and bowel control.
•    Dilated pupils.
•    Paralysis.
•    Blood in urine.

When walking in the bush always have two stretch bandages in your back pack. If your dog is bitten by a snake, wrap one bandage firmly around the bite & a second from the top of the leg to the bottom, if bitten on the leg, only leaving two toes showing, the pressure will help slow the venom spreading to the heart. Also keep them as calm and quiet as possible and take them to the vet immediately. Do NOT wash the wound or apply a tourniquet.

Don’t try to catch or kill the snake but if you can identify it that is helpful but not essential. The anti-venom is not cheap so it is best to keep your dog in a safe area & safe from the nasties. Always walk away from snakes slowly as not to provoke them.