Lincoln Vet Centre explains how to keep pets safe against snakes

DANGER: Snakes pose a serious threat to pets in the summer months, meaning pet owners must be aware of how to prevent and treat snake bites.
DANGER: Snakes pose a serious threat to pets in the summer months, meaning pet owners must be aware of how to prevent and treat snake bites.

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The Eyre Peninsula boasts some incredible wildlife, but keep in mind that summer brings out hidden dangers for pets, particularly with bites and stings from snakes and spiders.

Many of the worlds most deadly venomous snakes live here, including the Death Adder, Western Brown Snake, Dugites and Red-bellied Black Snakes, and all are active at this time of year.

Snakes tend to be more active towards the end of the day when temperatures are cooler, which is often the time people take their pets for a walk.

“If you’re walking your dog close to bushland, especially near water during the warmer months it’s important to keep your dog on a lead and avoid long grassy areas,” Emma Coates of Lincoln Vet Centre said.

“Dogs and cats are both curious by nature so you should also keep the grass low in your backyard and clear up any rubbish or objects where snakes may be able to hide.”

Lincoln Vet Centre is encouraging all pet owners to be aware of the signs of a snake bite, as it is rare to actually see a dog or cat being bitten.

“It's quite rare to witness the actual bite and many owners may not know why their pet is acting strangely,” Emma said.

“If you spot any of the following symptoms in your pet, call your vet immediately so that they can be prepared for your arrival with the right treatment.”

Signs of a snake bite in cats and dogs include:

  • Sudden weakness followed by collapse
  • Swelling of the bitten area
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Neurological signs such as twitching, drooling and shaking
  • Vomiting, loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paralysis/Ataxia in hind limbs

There are things you can do to prevent your pets encountering a snake:

  • Keep house and yards tidy
  • Clear out potential hiding places
  • Control their food source by reducing rat/mouse numbers
  • Trim long grass
  • Walk your dog on a lead
  • Manage water sources
  • If you do see a snake - leave them alone.

Keep your pet calm and take it to a vet immediately. It's also really important to try and stay calm yourself, as your pet picks up on your anxiety.

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The chances of recovery are much greater if your pet is treated early. However, not every pet survives a snake bite. 

If you can’t get to a vet immediately, applying a pressure bandage over and around the bite site can help slow the venom spreading to the heart.

Dogs that recover will show positive signs within twenty four to forty eight hours, but those that suffer from snake bites often need some time to fully recover their former health.

Discussions with your vet regarding ongoing treatment for your dog’s health regime will be necessary, and discussions about the feasibility and cost of treatment are also important.

Lincoln Vets temporarily suspend Cleve visits

An unforeseen staff shortage at Lincoln Vet Centre mean they will forced to temporarily suspend visits to the Cleve area in early 2018. 

The clinic has seen three out of five staff seek new challenges to start the new year, leaving the Port Lincoln based clinic temporarily short-staffed until replacement vets can be sources., 

“Unfortunately we’ve found we are short of staff at this time,” clinic manager Emma Coates said.

“We have serviced the country areas of Eyre Peninsula for nearly 40 years now, and we love doing so.

“So we’re disappointed we cannot service Cleve to start this year.

“We can however provide a wonderful Vet service from Port Lincoln and are happy to freight products up, take phone consultations and make interim arrangements as required.”

For more information call the team on 8682 3100.

This story How to keep pets safe against snakes first appeared on Eyre Peninsula Tribune.