Dogs & snake bites

stodels-starsSnake alert! Being cold blooded creatures, snakes are more active when the weather is warmer…

As summer arrives, snakes become more active, so we must be vigilant to ensure that our pets are not bitten. It helps to know what to do in the event of such an unfortunate situation. Snake bites most commonly occur when dogs enter the snake’s territory, usually on farms or mountainous areas, as snakes are not often inclined to enter residential areas.
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Poisonous snakes are commonly classified according to the venom type that they possess. Venom from neurotoxic snakes such as cobras and mambas causes paralysis of the muscles and so the victim is unable to move and eventually unable to breathe, leading to death. Cytotoxic snakes such as those of the adder family cause massive damage to the flesh where these bites occur.
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A Haemotoxic snake bite, such as that of a boomslang, affects the body’s ability to clot blood and eventually the victim may die from blood loss and kidney failure. If your dog has been bitten, it is therefore important to get to a suitable veterinary facility as soon as possible as any delay may affect your pet’s chances of survival. The veterinary facility must ideally have anti-venom to reduce the effect of the venom. As is the case of the neurotoxic snake bite victims, a ventilator will help should the pet stop breathing and need machine-support until the anti-venom does its work.
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These facilities are currently only available at the Bellville branch of TAH. TAH Bellville also hosts a blood bank with blood products to aid in the treatment of haemotoxic bites.
Warn the veterinary facility of your intention to bring your pet in so that they can be
ready for you, or at least be able to refer you elsewhere should they not have the necessary
equipment or anti-venom available.
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Try to get a good photo of the snake or bring in the snake if it has been killed, but be careful to not be bitten yourself! This will aid the veterinarian in deciding what treatment needs to be instituted.

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