Did you know that 21 out of the world’s top 25 most venomous snakes live in Australia? Whilst we are incredibly lucky to have such a wide range of unique reptiles in our country, these beautiful creatures can also be dangerous when provoked, and in Australia, around 6,500 pets are bitten by snakes each year. In this blog, we’ll be giving you a few tips on how to keep your curious pet safe from snakes over the summer months and what to do in the case of a bite.
Make no mistake, a bite from a venomous snake is a veterinary emergency. Snakes are attracted to areas that have shelter and a good source of prey so you can make your backyard less attractive to reptiles by keeping your grass trimmed, removing any sort of rubbish or refuse in your yard, and properly storing animal feed, seeds, and other food sources so they don’t attract rodents.
Don’t assume that your pet will automatically perceive a snake as a danger, if your pet hasn’t seen a snake before, they will probably be curious and try to inspect or play with it. Keep your dog on a leash during walks through bushland and parks and ensure they are well trained so that if you do see them sniffing around a reptile in your backyard, you can call them in. During the summer months, it’s also better to keep your cat inside as much as possible to avoid them roaming and getting into trouble.
Watch out for danger signs
If your pet is unlucky enough to go head to head with a snake, they may collapse or vomit soon after being bitten. Other common early signs include; dilated pupils, hind leg weakness, and shallow or rapid breathing. A snake bite can eventually lead to a number of serious conditions like paralysis, coma, and potentially death, so it’s absolutely vital to get your pet to a vet ASAP. Cats can often have more delayed symptoms compared to dogs so don’t assume if they are fine in the first hour that they haven’t been bitten.
What to do
Don’t put yourself in danger to try and identify the type of snake – any snake bite should be treated as an emergency. Try to keep calm and carry your pet to the car, then head straight to your closest vet. If you have someone with you ask them to call the vet to warn them you are on your way. It’s important that your pet remains as still and calm as possible to prevent the flow of venom. Attempting DIY first aid will only waste time, so focus on getting your cat or dog to the vet immediately.
The good news is that 91% of cats and 75% of dogs treated the same day for venomous bites survive. So if you’re concerned your pet may have been bitten, don’t delay – get them to the vet for treatment. Vets in Cranbourne are your local friendly veterinary practice, so for expert advice and professional treatment, get in touch by calling (03) 5995 3444.