The days are slowly getting longer, mornings are becoming easier, and I for one am slowly emerging from my winter hibernation, finding any excuse to be spending time outdoors with my four-legged furry friends in tow.
But with the warmer weather greeting us, so do all the creatures who have really been hibernating (ok, so maybe I just don’t like the cold..) and one of those is slithering snakes.
With close to 6,500 dogs killed by snakes each year in Australia, snakes are a common fear for all pet owners.
While most of us try our hardest to keep our inquisitive mates away from these scaly reptiles, unfortunately our pooches natural hunting instincts come into play and some furry friends do get bitten.
As a fur parent it’s essential that you know the signs and symptoms of identifying a snake bite in your pooch, and of course, have an effective plan in place to treat it.
How to tell if my dog has been bitten?
Because our mates spend their days exploring with their snouts, sniffing out new and exciting things, their mouths are the most common place for a dog to be bitten – it’s even super common for a snake to bite the inside of their mouth! Another common area is your pooches leg or paw.
The thing is, when a snake bites its venom will disturb your pooches anti-clotting agent in their blood, so you will usually notice a bleed from the affected area, in someway making it a bit easier to identify a bite.
If for some reason you don’t see blood, the after affects of a snake bike in a dog is extremely similar to that of a human.
Similar to a human, your furry friend will begin to show symptoms within the first hour of a snake bite. Some of these may be; signs of a headache, irritability, sensitivity to light, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, failure of blood to clot and physical collapse.
After the first hour you may begin to notice dilated pupils, laboured breathing, stomach pain and an erratic heartbeat, you may even notice blood in their faeces or urine.
Seek veterinary treatment
In most cases – 75% to be exact – a dog will survive a snake bite if they are taken to a vet early enough. That’s why, if your dog has been bitten, it’s essential to get them to a vet as early on as possible to give your vet every chance of saving their life
If you are unsure whether your four-legged friend has been bitten or not, most vets will allow you to take your pooch in to the clinic to be monitored. That way, you can feel at ease knowing your furry family member is in the right hands if he shows symptoms of a bite.
Always be aware; keep your dog on the leash when you can, or if that’s not an option, try to keep your pooch close by and call your dog away from sniffing under rocks when it’s warm out. If your mate has had a snake encounter, watch out for the signs and symptoms above.
Story images:Patrick Hendry