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Warmer weather brings out the snakes so what does this mean for our pets? Well our furry family members are at risk of snake bites, due to their inquisitive natures. There are a few things we can do as owners to minimize the chances of them encountering a snake.

  • Keep lawns mowed

  • Removing food sources that could potentially attract rodents

  • Clear rubbish piles/ burn piles

  • Minimize places that snakes can live long term i.e. sheets of tin, Bricks, old tyres

  • When out walking it is a good idea to keep your dog on a leash especially along bush tracks, paths near water, avoid long grassed areas

Signs that there could be a snake in your yard

  • Noisy birds

  • Barking/excited dogs

  • Stalking cat

  • Dogs or cats attracted to a particular spot in the back yard

If you have seen a snake near your dog or cat it is always best to assume that it has been bitten. Animals do not always show signs of being bitten immediately and each animal can display different symptoms:

  • Lethargy

  • Muscle tremors

  • Dilated pupils

  • Ataxia

  • Paralysis or weakness in their hind quarters

  • Hematuria- blood in urine

  • Vomiting

  • Excessive drooling

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Panting

  • Pacing/restlessness

  • Pale gums

  • Collapse straight away and then act normal for a period of time after (a sure sign they have received a lethal dose)

  • Bleeding from the mouth and nose (late symptom)

  • Sudden death

What do you need to do if you suspect that your pet has been bitten

  • Call your nearest clinic and let them know that you have a suspected snake bite and that you are on the way. This is to make sure that they have antivenom in stock and can also prepare for your arrival.

  • Try and stay calm, your dog needs to stay as calm as possible and will pick up on your stress

  • Keep your dog calm, quiet and as still as possible, if possible have some one hold or sit with them during the drive to the vet.

When you arrive at the clinic, clinical signs and a blood test will help determine whether or not your pet has been bitten. Most animals will only need 1 vial of antivenom however some cases may receive multiple vials depending on the severity of symptoms. Most pets recover within 24-48hours if they have received prompt treatment. Some may take longer due to damage to tissues and organs.

If you do find a snake in your yard DO NOT try and remove it yourself, call the Department of Parks and Wildlife or WILDCARE help line (08) 94749055, alternatively you could get in touch with a qualified snake relocator local to your area.

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