Snake Bite Prevention

By 10 September 2020 News

The two most common types of snake found in the Perth region are Brown Snakes (Dugites) and Tiger Snakes. During the warmer days of Spring, snakes become more active as they leave their winter retreats in search of a mate and food.

Tiger Snakes are found most commonly around wetland areas including the coastal plains, and the Swan and Canning Rivers and they are more tolerant of colder conditions.

Here at Yanchep Vet, the most common type of snake bites we see come from Brown Snakes. They can grow up to 2m long and are found in tree stumps, firewood, rubbish heaps and sheds. They prefer warmer weather and are often seen basking in sunny spots in bushland areas. 

Snakes prefer to eat frogs, mice, birds and lizards. However, if they are suddenly disturbed or cornered they will bite before trying to escape. 

For our inquisitive pups and curious kitties, an encounter with a snake can have potentially fatal consequences.

Taking Precautions

If you are walking your dog in bushland or grassy areas, take care to walk in cleared areas only such as bush trails and pathways.

Keep your dog on a lead and wear long trousers and enclosed footwear. 

Keep a lookout on the ground ahead of you where snakes may be sunning themselves. 

Hungry snakes will be attracted to sheds and outbuildings where mice and rats breed in rubbish and under building materials such as corrugated iron sheets.
Keep these areas free from debris and ensure that your pets do not have access.

If you find a snake in your house, you should search online and call your local snake catcher West Aussie Reptiles 0412 914537, Gary Davies, who will remove the snake and relocate it safely back to its natural habitat. 

What To Do If Your Pet Is Bitten By A Snake

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake you should get your pet into the car and head straight to your nearest Vet. Call us once you are underway, and we will have everything ready to help your pet. 

Yanchep Vet 9561 2438

After-hours – Call Emergency Vet Hospital in Wangara on 9200 4460

Even if there are no symptoms, head to the vet. Animals can collapse or die very suddenly after appearing to be quite normal and displaying no symptoms. Antivenom is given only if there are symptoms, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Signs may include vomiting, weakness or walking like they are drunk, appearing spaced out, or suddenly stopping breathing.  Some dogs, especially Staffies will just start panting a lot more and seem overheated and a bit distressed. Some animals will collapse and stop breathing only minutes after a snake bite. You must act quickly

If you see a pet with a snake, have the pet checked, even if there are no immediate symptoms – they can take 8 hours to show signs in some cases. And some animals are bitten but don’t get any venom in the bite. So it’s not always straight forward. Observation and monitoring are the keys to a good outcome.

DO NOT put a tourniquet on, do not bandage, just get in the car and head to the vet. Keep your pet quiet and calm. Keep the airconditioning on to keep them as cool as possible. 

DO NOT try to catch or kill the snake.

Treatment

If pets are showing no symptoms we just observe them for a few hours, usually with a cannula in their vein so we have rapid access should they suddenly collapse and need medication or treatment.

Antivenom is only given if there are symptoms. It is of no value and can be dangerous if there are no symptoms of snakebite.  Pets are usually given IV fluids on a drip, as well as oxygen therapy and antivenom if they show signs of snakebite. With rapid treatment, over 95% of pets will survive a snake bite and go on to lead normal happy lives.

Treatment may include oxygen therapy to assist your pet with breathing, as the snake venom causes paralysis of muscles, which can include the breathing muscles.

Snake Avoidance Training For Dogs

We recommend this quick, effective one-on-one training provided by Animal Ark to help protect your dog from snake bites. This course may save your dog’s life.

Our next class starts on Sunday 27th September.

The cost is only $195 per dog and the second dog is discounted.
If you have previously participated, the refresher course is only $95.

Bookings are essential! We only have limited places so please go to www.snakeavoidance.com.au to secure your spot now.

Author Sam

Dr Sam Sorensen graduated from Murdoch University, WA in 1985. She has special interests in Dermatology, Radiology, Surgery, Endocrinology, Acupuncture and Ultrasonography. Dr Sam has worked in Australia, China, Singapore and done volunteer work in Africa, Peru, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Cook Islands. She established Yanchep Veterinary Hospital in 2005 and from a small start has grown the practice into a full service hospital.

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