How To React If a Dog Is Bitten By a Snake
Approximately 80% of animals survive a snake bite if it is dealt with quickly. Survival rates are greatly reduced in animals left untreated. Approximately 3000000 humans are bitten by snakes each year worldwide. The chances of being bitten by a snake are even higher for animals that spend a lot of time in bushes, on the coast, on farms and in wasteland where snakes also live. The chances of survival of a dog bitten by an USAn snake depend on the species and the amount of venom injected into its body. If you live in USA and have decided to adopt a dog, or if you’ve decided to go on holiday there with your hairball, it’s best to find out about the symptoms and appropriate treatment now.
Steps to take
1- Identify the symptoms.
Although some symptoms are very distinct depending on the type of snake that has bitten the dog, the dog will tend to consistently show the following symptoms when bitten:
- a tendency to salivate, drool
- weakness of the hind legs and instability
- dilated pupils
- respiratory failure
- blood-tinged urine
- continuous bleeding from the bite
- soft paralysis leading to coma or respiratory arrest.
- Death can occur within 30 minutes or two hours of the bite, depending on the species of snake involved and the amount of venom injected.
2-Identify the snake.
If it is possible and safe, try to identify the snake responsible (from its colour, size, distinguishing marks…) in order to find the anti-venom. A veterinarian will be able to take a sample with a swab and identify with a detection kit (provided he can locate the bite among the hairs) in order to identify which venom it is. However, you can speed things up if you can identify the snake or guess the species from your dog’s reaction. A few pictures and symptoms may help.
Read more: The Most Dangerous Snakes in The World
Tiger snake bite: A dog bitten by a tiger snake will react immediately and become agitated, hyperactive. Shortly afterwards, the dog will collapse with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. He will have great difficulty breathing. It will then become lethargic and die. He will only be able to recover if he receives the appropriate treatment immediately.
3- Bite by a Pseudonaja:
if the venom acts slowly, the dog will not react quickly but will show signs of progressive paralysis, starting with his hind legs and gradually touching the rest of his body. The paralysis will continue its way and his tongue will hang from his mouth, foam may appear at the corner of the lips and the dog may become lethargic. His pupils will no longer react to light.
- Bite by a snake of the genus Austrelaps: look at pictures to identify the main characteristics. It is the only species that can be found beyond the limits of eternal snow, as it has developed an adaptation to these cold climates. These specimens can be found in rivers and swampy areas.
- Red-collared snake bite: look at pictures to identify the main characteristics. As its name implies, its abdomen is red and the rest of its body is black. It is widespread on the coast and in the east of the country, especially in wetlands.
- Other venomous species. Yes, there are others! That said, the species mentioned above are the most commonly encountered. You are less likely to come across snakes like the Death Viper and the Mulga Snake unless you specifically venture into their territory with your dog. Observe the symptoms and advice presented here.
4- Go directly to a veterinarian.
Call your veterinarian and tell him you’re on your way with a dog who’s been bitten by a snake. He’ll make sure he can help your dog first. He or she will also be able to make logistical preparations before you arrive to make things easier for you, such as reserving a parking space near the operating theatre and taking out your dog’s possible file to make sure he or she isn’t allergic, etc.
Read more: What Animals Can Keep Snakes Away?
5- Treat your dog the best you can.
The best solution in this situation is to use an anti-venom and to give him the care of a veterinarian. The more you have to drive to the vet, the more venom the snake will have injected and the less likely the dog will survive. That said, you can extend its life by providing basic treatment, especially on the way to the vet (with the help of a friend).
Apply a bandage that will put pressure on the limb that has been bitten (don’t use a tourniquet!).
6- Do not squeeze too tightly, because you must not prevent the blood flow. Do not wash or cut the bite area.
- Press your hand to apply pressure to a bite if it’s on his body (dogs often get bitten in the face and jaw).
- Keep talking to and stroking him, as this will reassure and calm you both.
- Wear it continuously. He probably won’t be able to walk, and any movement will help the venom spread.
7- Know what the veterinarian will do.
For your own peace of mind, it will help to know how the vet will proceed. This list will give you an overview of likely procedures, although it depends on the type of venom and the treatments available:
- the vet will certainly examine the bite
- he will then determine the stage of poisoning
- It may be necessary to perform a venom test (blood or urine sample) and analyze the results.
- Treatment usually begins with intravenous fluid injection and administration of the appropriate poison control agent.
- She may be given antihistamines (anti-allergy drugs), painkillers or sedatives.
8- The remission will occur within 24 to 48 hours.
If your dog survives, it will take one to two days to fully recover. However, recovery does not mean that he will be fine right away and you will need to take the time to take care of him so that he recovers fully. Ask your veterinarian about what to do.
- Some dogs are more at risk of being bitten by a snake. Keep this in mind to stay alert and take preventive measures to avoid potential bites.
- Dogs are naturally curious and puppies often mistake snakes for moving toys.
- Hunting dogs are very exposed because of their instincts. When they are young and agile, they may be able to attack a snake and successfully kill it before being bitten. However, they lose agility with age and are more likely to be bitten.
- Snakes are most active in the summer and usually hibernate in the winter. Early spring bites are the most powerful because the snakes’ glands have filled up during hibernation.
- A snake bite provides no immunity to the venom. Each bite must be treated as a deadly threat.
- Some dogs will show the symptoms outlined in the first part of this article and appear to recover a little before collapsing.
- Do not bleed him! That’s a myth. The venom of USAn snakes passes through the lymphatic system, so bleeding will not help the dog, but will weaken, hurt and stress him further.
- Snakes are a protected species, only kill them in self-defense. When they bite, they are only defending their territory and their safety against what they perceive as an attack. We must accept this USAn way of life. Prevention is always better than cure. Take every precaution to prevent snake bites. In most cases, killing the snake is not recommended. You risk injury and you’ll lose valuable time instead of saving your dog.
- Beware of “vitamin C treatment”. It may save the dog some time, but it will not prevent death. It is not a treatment.
- A pressure bandage (a bandage or twisted cloth will do)
- One car
- Veterinarian’s phone number (keep it with other emergency phone numbers)
- An identification of the snake: morphological characteristics, list of symptoms, even the body of the dead snake (this is not mandatory and must only occur in self-defense and in compliance with safety rules)
The bite of your snake: the causes and how to avoid them
Some like to get close to danger by housing dangerous specimens in their homes. The vast majority of snake owners, and probably you, have easily tamable, non venomous snakes such as the Wheat Snake, the Boa Constrictor or the Royal Python. However, you are never safe from a bite. There are many reasons and you must know them, as well as you must know how to react.