So last Tuesday, September 13, it was freezing cold and raining cats and dogs. That day we saw our first dog snake bite of the season. Snakes come out when median temperature reaches 15 degrees C., on the weekend Spring looked close, close enough to get Brown snakes moving. Our patient was a 13 year old Whippet that presented with neurologic signs: tremors, strange horizontal eye movement and unable to stand.
The owners informed us that they had already seen several brown snakes in their farm paddock. We treated her with brown snake anti- venom. She took quite a while to respond, partly due to her advanced age and also because snake venom is much more toxic when they first come out of hibernation
She survived and was able to leave the clinic that night, back to her normal self.
When dogs are bitten by a venomous snake, they will die within 45 minutes. So if you even see your canine pet with a snake, get to the nearest veterinary clinic immediately!
Cats with snake bite respond very differently; they don’t show clinical signs until many hours later. Typically, owners let their normal cat in at night and in the morning they are unable to walk. Cats that have been bitten by a snake develop and ascending paralysis, they lose the ability to use their back legs, gradually they lose any ability to move. If untreated they are left unable to breathe, an agonizing death.
Don’t let the cold weather fool you, snakes are active and highly toxic this time of year.