While we may be enjoying some warmer weather it does also bring out some wildlife that can cause your pets some harm. The worst of them being snakes. A snake bite can kill a pet in less than 15-20minutes.

The signs of a snake bite include:
  • Stumbling (drunk-like)
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Collapsed with floppy legs
  • Breathing difficulties
  • and death following soon after

In some cases pets appear to recover, looking normal after a vomit and stumble, but then a second wave of venom absorption kicks in and can kill them rapidly. The best chance of survival requires immediate veterinary attention for anti-venom administration. If possible, keeping your pet as quiet and calm as possible will help slow the spread of the venom until treatment can be started. South Cranbourne Veterinary Surgery stock the anti-venom to treat pets bitten locally. It is always best to call ahead to advise us that you are on your way to the clinic, as this allows us to prepare for your arrival.

Not all snakes are the same and colours vary a lot within types of snakes so you can never be sure what snake it is until you look at the scales on the head and body. Lucky for us the multivalent anti-venom we stock provides treatment for all the snakes seen in our local area, therefore bringing the snake to the clinic is not necessary. In cases where there is a suspicion of a bite but the animal is not showing obvious clinical signs, bloods tests can be performed to check for whether a bite is likely to have occurred.

Reducing the risk of snake bites can be achieved by taking the following steps:
  • Stopping you pet going into long grass.
  • Don’t walk near creeks
  • Keep your pet on lead.
  • Exercise your pet at a well maintained park with short grass without any streams, ponds or lakes.
For situations where your home property is frequented by snakes you can reduce the risk of snakes living on your property by doing the following:
  • Removing hiding places like log piles, long grass and scrap metal.
  • Keeping your pets in a contained yard away from long grass, and water sources like dams and creeks. Putting their food and water bowls in a shady place away from likely entry points for snakes.

Another common presentation that we see at this time of year is swelling of the face due to an insect bite or sting. Pets are often curious and investigating a bush or a bug can lead to a sting on the face. Swelling doesn’t always occur and you may just see local irritation at the site of the bite/sting. This doesn’t just occur on the face but can be seen anywhere on the body. If a pet chews or licks at the bite site an infection can often develop. In an extremely rare instance a severe shock reaction may occur leading to vomiting, collapse or breathing trouble and this requires immediate veterinary attention. If you suspect that your pet has been a little too curious an may have been bitten it is best to seek veterinary attention.