Signs of a snake bite

January 23rd, 2018

The warmer weather sees an increase in snake sightings, meaning our cats and dogs are more at risk than any other time of the year. Due to snakes being much more active, pet owners need to be more cautious and put in safeguards to help protect our pets from potential fatal bites. Therefore you should know the signs of a snake bite if your pet happens to get bitten.

Signs of a snake bite

As dogs and cats will often try to chase or kill snakes, it is important to be extra vigilant especially if you’re in an area that is common for snake sightings. Depending on the type of snake will determine how the symptoms your pet displays and how severe they are. Bites that are closer to the heart tend to spread venom quicker around the body. While bites at the beginning of summer are more venomous as the snake’s glands are fuller due to being inactive during the colder months.

Keep an eye out for the following signs to determine if your pet has been bitten by a snake:

  • Sudden weakness in your pet followed by collapsing
  • Vomiting
  • Shaking or twitching of muscles
  • Difficulty blinking
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paralysis
  • Blood in urine

Due to your pet’s curiosity, they are most likely to be bitten around the head and limbs, so be sure to check those areas thoroughly if you notice them acting differently.

What to do next

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, it is important to act as quickly and calmly as possible and take them to the closest vet. Keeping them quiet and calm will help slow the spread of venom around their bloodstream – you can also apply a bandage around the area to reduce the spread (only if practical). The sooner they are treated the higher their chance of a full recovery.

If you see the snake that bit your four-legged friends, do not try and kill or capture it as it may bite you and then the chance of survival for both of you is greatly reduced. Be sure to identify it without getting too close so that you can tell your vet which will speed up treatment. If you can’t identify it, no need to worry as a simple blood or urine test can be done to determine the type of snake.

Antivenom

The vet will give your pet antivenom which will most likely cure your pet, depending on how long it has been since they were bitten and the type of snake. It is important to note that antivenom comes at a substantial cost so it is best to try and avoid interactions with your pets and snakes at all costs. Installing a snake-proof fence or removing any potential hiding places in your yard will go a long way to keeping you and your pets safe!

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