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Pet Insurance
12 Nov 2019

How to handle snake season

Australia is home to the world's most venomous snakes and whilst these beautiful creatures will always choose to flee over attack if not threatened, our cats and dogs may not understand to leave these guys alone. 

Tiger (mainly southern Australia) and Brown (all over Australia) snakes are responsible for most of the bites of our pets in Australia. 

This Spring, we are deep into snake season already. We know that snakes are usually found close to fresh water such as creeks or dams, and in the long grass or bush. Snakes also may be found in sheds, roofs and wood piles. This knowledge helps us with a snake safety plan which is based on avoidance. 

Snake safety plan for your pet

  1. Keep the grass short near the home

  2. Walk on short grass or paths, avoid long grass and bush, especially near waterways

  3. Keep your pet close and contained on walks

  4. Don’t let your pet play with a dead snake – the venom in their fangs can still cause a fatality even after the snake itself is dead

  5. Ensure your pets sleeping area is secure so they cannot escape, and snakes cannot get in. 

  6. Store pet food away from the sleeping area as this can attract snakes.

In the unhappy event your pet is bitten by a snake you need to see your local Vet immediately. 

Symptoms can be seen anywhere from 1-24 hours after a bite and depend on the type of snake and how much venom was injected. The venom can stop the blood's ability to clot resulting in excessive bleeding, destruction of body tissue, and has the potential to cause fatality within an hour. 

Symptoms can include any or all of the following: 

  • Vomiting
  • Sudden collapse
  • Dilated pupils (eyes look wide)
  • Weakness progressing to paralysis, starting in the back legs moving to all legs
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Blood in urine or vomit

If you suspect a snake bite or your pet is showing any of the above clinical signs you must seek veterinary attention IMMEDIATELY, even if they have ‘seemingly’ recovered. 

Stay calm, keep your pet as still as possible and head straight to your local Vet, have someone call them advising that you’re on the way so the Veterinarian can be prepared to look after your pet the second you walk in the door.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your fur kid and snakes.

Note: if you see a snake around your house or work space keep calm and call a professional local snake catcher, keep your pets secured and an eye on the location of the snake from a far and safe distance until the handler arrives.

Get to know Dr Claire Jenkins

Written by Dr Claire Jenkins. Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of VetChat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.

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