Act swiftly if pet is bitten

THE last thing any pet owner wants is to have a venomous snake sink its fangs into their beloved animal.

But unfortunately as the weather warms up, more pets – especially dogs – are becoming victims, according to Griffith Veterinary Hospital’s Amy Dutton.

Dozens of dogs have fallen victim to snakebites in recent weeks and while a number did not make it to the vet in time, Ms Dutton said she had been able to save some lives – which was an admirable result.

Ms Dutton said the most common culprits in Griffith were brown snakes and the occasional red-bellied black snake, while tiger snake bites sometimes occurred around Coleambally.

Once a dog or cat is bitten by a snake, depending on the size of the animal and type of snake, owners have between 20 minutes to one hour to get their pet to the vet, Ms Dutton said. 

“You should call the vet before you come in so we can be prepared,” Ms Dutton said.

“We can get a good result, but it’s dependent on how quick you get here.

“If you think your dog or cat has been bitten by a snake, the only thing you can do is jump in the car and get to a vet as quickly as possible.” 

Signs that a pet has been bitten can vary. 

“The first sign is hypersalivation – they’ll salivate a lot,” Ms Dutton said.

“Then they might start shaking and collapse. 

“Sometimes what happens is they’ll collapse then look like they’ve recovered, but they’ll go downhill quickly after that.”

Snakes were most common around woodpiles and in long grass, Ms Dutton said, but they are also partial to water and favour irrigation areas and properties nears channels or dams.

“There’s not much you can do to stop snakes,” she said. 

“You can try netting around your property or snake repellents but these are just prevention, there’s no guarantee.”

Ms Dutton said treatment could be costly.

Signs of snake bite in pets

-Excessive saliva

■- Shaking

-■ Collapse

■- Respiratory distress

■- Vomiting/diarrhoea

■- Weakness/unsteadiness

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