If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake you should keep your pet calm & quiet and take it to a vet immediately.
The chances of recovery are greater if your pet is treated early (80%).
Poisonous snakes in Australia include:
Tiger Brown Copperhead Black
Tiger Snake: Usually found in association with waterways. Average length 1 metre. Broad headed. Striped. Light grey to dark green, brown or orange.
Brown: Usually found in dry farming areas. Average length 1.5 metres. Dark brown to putty color with cream-spotted. Slim and rapid moving.
Copperhead: Average length 1.5 metres. Sluggish and thick set. Yellow brown color. Head is a rich copper-orange.
Black: Length 2 metres. Glossy black with purple sheen. Pinkish to white belly.
Several factors determine the reaction your pet will have to a snake bite.
The type of snake (some species aren't as venomous as others), amount of venom injected, site of the bite, size of your animal. At the start of summer, when snake become active, their glands are fuller so bites tend to be more severe, also the time since the snake previous bit something factors into your pet's reaction. Common bite sites on pets are limbs and head. Normally, the closer the bite is to the heart the quicker the venom would travel through the body.
Dogs are curious and Cats are born hunters, which makes them their own enemy when it comes to snakes.
Symptoms of snake bites are varied depending on size and species.
Common symptoms for snake bites are :
- Sudden weakness, collapse.
- Shaking/twitching of muscles.
- Dilated pupils.
- Blood in Urine
- Loss of bladder/bowel control
- Swelling of bite area
- Paralysis in later stages.
If necessary, first aid can be applied, keep your pet clam & quiet and apply a pressure bandage to the area, a firm bandage over and around the bite site, to help slow the venom spreading to the heart.
Do NOT wash the wound or apply a tourniquet.
Go straight to your vet clinic, ring them on the way if possible to let them know that an emergency is coming.
Best way to keep your pets safe from snake bites is to prepare their environment keep grass cut low, clean up rubbish piles, tidy around garden edging, or clear hiding places snake prefer (wood piles, under roofing sheets) Snakes also like to hide out is garden sheds and stock feed rooms, so keep them neat and tidy as well.
If snakes are common in your area, you may consider building a snake proof fence.
Its also recommended that if snakes are common in your area, to have the local snake catchers phone number easily accessible, to relocate them before they bite your pet.