With spring well and truly here we are seeing warmer days. However, with warmer weather comes more snakes out and about after their hibernation period through winter. Spring time is when most snakes tend to be enthusiastically looking for a meal to replenish food stores that they have used up during hibernation.

With urbanisation increasing interactions between snakes and pets are becoming more common, especially in the south east. The semi-rural properties along with the housing estates bordering the Botanical Gardens and local Golf Courses are particular hot-spots for snake sightings in our local area. Be on the look out whilst walking your pet. It is best to keep them on the lead to ensure that you have control over what they are investigating. Most snakes will leave you alone unless they feel threatened, so best to steer clear of them.

Unless you have seen your dog or cat interact or be bitten by a snake it can be easy to overlook the symptoms. Symptoms of snake bite may appear to have a brief recovery period of 20 – 30 mins in which your pet may seem okay followed by deterioration. In some cases there can be a delayed symptomatic period of approximately 24 hours before they present with any of the known clinical signs of snake bite. Most people will generally look for a bite mark but this can be near impossible to find amongst the hair. The following clinical signs can indicate snake bite in cats and dogs:

1. Weakness/Ataxia (inability to walk, loss of co-ordination)
2. Shaking/Tremoring
3. Vomiting
4. Paralysis
5. Respiratory Distress (laboured breathing/inconsistent breaths)
6. Dilated pupils
7. Red Urine

Some of these clinical signs may present rapidly post envenomation but some can take up to 24 hours to present, so it is best that if you have ANY suspicion that your pet has been bitten by a snake then we advise you to seek IMMEDIATE veterinary attention. Even if they are yet to exhibit clinical signs it is best to be seen by your vet who can assess and test for snake bite, then begin immediate treatment if required. At South Cranbourne Veterinary Surgery we have in clinic testing to determine if your pet has been affected by snake venom and also carry the antivenom required for snakes in our local area to ensure that your pet can receive prompt treatment.

If you feel that your pet may have had an interaction with a snake contact us on (03) 5995 1451

The Team at South Cranbourne Veterinary Surgery