Snake bites are more common in warmer months. There are about 170 species of land snakes in Australia with over 25 of them being venomous! In our semi-rural area it is imperative that we stay alert in the warmer months, keep your garden cleared of long grass and debris and don’t leave clothes and towels on the floor. We also recommend walking your pet on a leash to limit the likelihood of them encountering snakes and take extra care when bushwalking and hiking.
First Aid Management for Snake Bites
Snakes can be fatal! You should identify the snake if at all possible (remember that it’s illegal to kill them though). If you know your pet has been bitten by a venomous snake such as a brown snake, red-bellied black snake or tiger snake, you need immediate veterinary help. If you’ve seen the snake but aren’t sure if your pet has been bitten, look for signs such as collapse, breathing difficulties, weakness, tremors and convulsions, vomiting, loss of balance and dilated pupils. Your pet should be rested and if you know that it has been bitten on the leg, apply a pressure bandage.
The good news is that snake venom detection kits for animals are available, so immediate veterinary attention is recommended for the best results. Hospitalisation and intensive supportive treatment is often required.
What to do?
• Don’t get bitten yourself! It’s not always vital we know what type of snake but take a photo if you can
• Try to keep your pet quiet, calm and still
• The sooner we determine if your pet has been bitten the better (there are tests available to tell us)
• Call the vet on the way. This is to ensure we can have everything set up and ready to go if needed. We need to act quickly.
• Keep grass short
• Keep land clear of rubbish
• Cover holes leading to garage/house
• Eliminate hiding places (snakes are ambush predators, meaning they attack their prey from dark hiding places)
• Eliminate their food/water supply