First snake bite of the season

September 17, 2010

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The first snake bite of the season has prompted a warning from vets at Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital about the deadly threat to dogs and cats.

Murdoch Senior Lecturer in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Katrin Swindells said Rocco, a Burmese cat, had been bitten in recent days in Perth and she expected more pet victims in the next few weeks as the weather warmed.

Snake bites are more common in Perth than other capitals because of large areas of natural reserves around the city. Up to 50 pets are treated each year for snake bites at Murdoch University.

"Snake venom causes paralysis, bleeding disorders and muscle damage which, if not treated quickly by a vet, will lead to death," Dr Swindells said.

"Dogs and cats are inquisitive and will often chase snakes or attempt to kill them. As a result, they may be bitten several times, particularly if the snake is fighting for its life."

In the most severe cases, she said, the pet may need to be put on a ventilator – to be kept alive until the paralysis is reversed with anti-venom.

Dr Swindells said that if a pet stopped breathing on the way to a vet clinic it should receive mouth-to-nose resuscitation while lying on its side.

Applying a compressive bandage along the whole limb was a proven first aid in humans but with most bites in animals occurring around the head and neck, pressure bandages could not be applied as they would interfere with the animal’s ability to breathe.

Media contact: Jo Manning
Tel: (08) 9360 2474  |  Mobile: 0408 201 309  |  Email: j.manning@murdoch.edu.au
Categories: General
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Comments (2 responses)

siamese cats December 17, 2011

I have a siamese cat that is very mean. He has a bond with my husband but everyone else he attacks. We want to get another cat but we are afraid that it will make bella meaner or it will make the two tag team us. We have tried everything to make him nicer and nothing works. Can anyone help with ideas on how to make him nicer or if its a bad decision to get another cat.

Wenda Pearce First Aid June 23, 2012

"Dogs and cats are inquisitive and will often chase snakes or attempt to kill them. As a result, they may be bitten several times, particularly if the snake is fighting for its life."

I've had 2 cats that have done just that! :/

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