Forbes Veterinary Clinic (02) 68521775

Snake Bite in Animals

The warmer weather brings out the snakes.  As pet owners there are a few things you need to be aware of:
* The type of snake is very important as different snakes require different treatments. We have seen Black, Brown, King Brown and Tiger Snake bites at the clinic that have all been described as 'black snakes'. Never assume! If you are able without putting yourself or anyone else in danger take a photo of the snake's head and bring it with you as this will enable us to identify the snake quicker. Otherwise we can run tests to find the most likely snake, however for Tiger Snakes and Brown Snakes in particular time is of the essence and a quick treatment is vitally important.
* What if my pet has been bitten?
If you think your pet has been bitten by a snake ring the clinic straight away! They will direct you to come in straight away and be prepared for your animal when you arrive.
If there were two animals in contact with the snake and one looks ok bring it with you. We have treated many dogs who look perfectly normal for 2 hours after being bitten by the snake and suddenly collapse after this time.
* What will I see if my animal is bitten?
- Horses often show signs of colic
- Dogs: Black and King Brown snakes cause swelling and blood oozing from a wound, Brown Snakes cause trouble breathing, collapse, vomiting, paralysis and death. As previously mentioned some dogs bitten by brown snakes will vomit and/or collapse and recover to look completely normal for 2 hours before showing more serious signs. This often tricks owners into thinking their animal hasn't been bitten. If in doubt, ring the clinic!!
- Cats: Cats can take up to 24 hours to show signs of the bite. They will have trouble walking - often initially crab crawling before developing into full paralysis, have trouble swallowing and breathing.  Some cats will present with the same symptoms as dogs - initial vomit and collapse then recovery before a rapid decline a few hours later.
Eastern Brown                                        Red Belly Black
Tiger                                              Mulga or King Brown