September 29, 2021

Your 3 life-saving snake bite tips 🐍

Your 3 life-saving snake bite tips 🐍
Dr. Chris Brown

Your dog (or cat) coming face to face with a snake might be one of the more terrifying moments for a pet parent. Even if, yes, it’s probably one of their most exciting days. But here’s what you need to do next…

With snakes moving through our suburbs more than ever right now (see the last post), there’s an even greater risk of a chance encounter. And while most dogs are just being territorial and responding to the fear over the scaly intruder, a stand-off can occur that can result in a bite. So here’s what you need to do next…

These first three steps are the most crucial.
1. For starters, call your dog (or cat) back and put a leash on them. Keeping them as still as possible right now is crucial.
2. Don’t worry about catching or (even worse) killing the snake. But do try to get a photo from a safe distance that will help with identification. The snake will almost certainly move away without your backyard’s defender on guard.
Don’t forget to take some deep breaths. You also need to keep calm here.
3. Then, you must assume that your little mate wasn’t quite as elusive as they hoped and may have been bitten. We now need to focus on getting them to the vet for a check-up in the best possible shape.

From now on, minimise all movement. Carry your dog (or cat) where required. Don’t let them even walk. They will be wound up, excited and wanting to get back to chase the snake. This heart pumping activity will only spread the venom around their body if they have been bitten.

Apply a pressure bandage on any limb that looks sore or they’re holding up. You may see puncture marks but often with thick fur, they’re hard to find. The most common bite areas are the head, neck and front legs.
Don’t wash the bite area with anything. There may be traces of venom that help with identification.

Transport your pet to the vet immediately and please call them on the way so they can prepare for your arrival.

The biggest signs your pet has been bitten are sudden collapse and vomiting. But no signs don’t mean they have escaped. Also keep an eye out for:
- Dilated pupils
- Trembling
- Restlessness
- Drooling
- Collapsing and then appearing normal again (a big worry)
- Pale gums
- Shortness of breath
- Bleeding

The most common causes of snake bite in Australia are Eastern brown snakes, Red-belly black snakes, Taipans and Tiger Snakes. Vet clinics in snake prone areas will carry the necessary anti-venom so getting your pet to them in a calm state will really help.

Here’s hoping you never need these tips…but they’re here if you need them.

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