My pet has been bitten by a snake, what should I do?
As the weather starts to warm up snakes become more active. If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you must act urgently. Snake bites in many cases are deadly and sadly some pets die, despite receiving treatment.
Symptoms of snake bite are varied but if you suspect your dog or cat has been bitten take them to your nearest vet immediately and BEFORE waiting for symptoms to show. Often you will not see evidence of a bite or any blood or swelling as snakes have very small and narrow fangs.
Symptoms you may see include:
- Sudden weakness followed by collapse
- Dilated pupils
- Loss of control of bladder and/or bowels
- Drooling, shaking, twitching muscles
- Pain or distress with vocalising or heavy panting
- Paralysis, starting in hind legs and moving to front legs
- Blood in urine
- Puncture wounds, bleeding and/or swelling in the area that has been bitten
What to do if you suspect your pet has been bitten:
Immobilise: immediately immobilise your pet, and keep them as quiet as possible. The less they move the slower the venom will be able to move around their body and cause toxicity.
If you are out walking your dog, carry them to your car, if you have a large dog ask others for assistance or keep movement to a minimum. DO NOT panic and run your dog or encourage them to move around.
Seek Veterinary help: take your pet to the nearest vet clinic. If possible call the clinic, this will allow the staff time to prepare for your arrival.
On the way to the vet remain calm and immobilise your pet as much as possible.
What not to do:
- Do not allow your pet to walk or run.
- Do not try to treat/clean the bite or suck the venom from the bite or apply a tourniquet.
Remember to remain calm, call the vet (hands free of course) and drive carefully.
If you would like any other tips on snake bite first aid, discuss with your Vet at your next consultation.