Pets and snakes don’t mix

Animal Aid CEO Mark Menze.

By Mark Menze, Animal Aid CEO

January has been a scorcher!

While the higher temperatures can be uncomfortable for both humans and pets, summer can pose greater dangers than heat alone.

Warmer weather means more active snakes, and reports of pets being affected by snakebite have risen greatly over recent months.

Most snakes will try to avoid people and pets, but if they feel cornered and defensive they will often strike.

Many pets will be fascinated by the snake’s movements and try to hunt them or play with them.

The best way to combat the dangers that snakes pose to pets – and humans, too – is to modify behaviours and avoid them wherever possible.

By keeping your back yard neat and tidy, clearing away undergrowth and other materials such as wood piles, and clearing brush, grass and shrubs from walk ways you will make your space less inviting to snakes.

Any spilled food, birdseed or fruit, will increase the likelihood of rodents taking up residence in the area – the perfect food for snakes.

Be particularly cautious where your pet is sniffing.

It is best to keep your pet on lead when the risk is highest, but if you do see a snake, retreat the way you came – snakes can have an incredible striking range.

A pet that has suffered a snake bite may suddenly collapse, show signs of vomiting, trembling, salivation and excessive panting.

Some symptoms can develop up to several hours later and may include paralysis, lethargy, wobbly legs, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing or blood-tinged urine.

If your pet has been bitten, remember to stay calm.

Call ahead and seek veterinary care for your pet immediately.

Keep your pet calm, too, and limit their activity.

Cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom should not be attempted – prioritise getting professional treatment.

Early treatment carries the best chance of a favourable outcome.

If you even suspect your pet may have been bitten, please seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Research your closest 24-hour clinic and check that they carry snake anti-venom as not all clinics do.

The best thing you can do for your pet is to be prepared.

Do your research, keep bandages on hand and avoid high-risk areas.

If you would like any advice on snake safety, please contact our fantastic Animal Aid Veterinary team.

They will be able to answer your questions and help keep your pet safe this summer. Call 8756 1300.

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