Snake Bite

Snake-bite is the fear of any dog owner. One may be lucky to hear a yelp,find the dog apparently unhurt, and then the next morning,...dead! Dogs, being inquisitive, will poke about in areas whwere snakes shelter and even have a snuffle at a basking snake. There are claims at successfully treating snake- bite with Vitamin C,yet the authorities feel there may be another explanation for the recovery. A resting and undisturbed snake will not necessarily have venom ready in the teeth for injection, and so the first attack often produces a harmless bite. This is not always the case of course, and besides, the bite your dog receives may be the second the snake has made recently!

There are a great number of nenomous snakes inAustralia. Fortunately, a great range of antivenins is now readily available and stored by Vets in high-risk areas. Where possible, try to identify the snake, but do not place yourself or anyone else at risk to do so. One victim is one too many, don't add to the list! A plyvalent antivenin product is available and certain areas may be almost snake specific anyway, and known by your Vet. Some will have a detection kit available. The antivenin is administered directly into the vein, the major risk being anaphylactic shock.

As a first aider, if you know or suspect snake-bite, keep the patient calm. This is to keep the circulation at a low level and to slow down the uptake of venom from the bite. A firm bandage should be used on any limb bitten, to im-mobilise the limb. Apply a firm pressure over the bite site using a broad roller bandage in the spiral form. Extend the bandage down to the extremity of the limb and as high as possible. Further immobilise the limb with external splints, and travel immediately to the nearest Vet.

Signs do vary and occur from half an hour to two hours after the bite, There will be two small puncture marks, but with the coat they may have, they may be hard to find. Disturbed vision, nausea and vomiting, obvious headache, drowsiness or even fainting, sweating, stomach pain, other signs of shock, collapse and breathing failure may be witnessed. address these problems as they occur.

Submitted by John Chandler
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