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snake

Snake Bites in Animals in the Illawarra

Along with BBQ, sunscreen and tourists, hot weather also brings out the snakes around the Illawarra.

There are a number of species that inhabit our part of the coast and escarpment, from non-venomous Diamond Pythons to the mildly venomous Golden Crown Snakes as well as some highly toxic individuals. While there are small pockets of Copperheads and Brown Snakes in the area, the majority of snake bite pets that we see have been bitten by the generally shy, Red Bellied Black Snake.

How to tell if your dog has been bitten by a red-bellied black snake

Matt Young's picture
A red belly black snake in green grass with the caption: How to tell if your dog's been bitten

The most common type of snake found in our area is the red-bellied black snake. They are not a particularly aggressive snake but we do see alot of bites in dogs as the dogs will corner the snake and bite them (so of course the snake bites back in defense). If you've found a red-bellied black snake and aren't sure if your dog was bitten here are some ways to tell:

1. Look for a bite

The fangs of the snake cause a puncture wound and the venom then causes the muscles around the wound to break down. The area becomes very inflamed. The bite wounds are usually:

Snake Bites in Dogs and Cats

Matt Young's picture
red belly black snake

Red Bellied Black SnakeAs the weather warms up, so do reptiles. Snakes are now on the move and slithering into our backyards. In our area the most common snake seen is the red-bellied black snake. There are also smaller numbers of brown snakes and tiger snakes. 

If your dog or cat does encounter a snake and are bitten it is very important to seek assistance straight away, even if your pet is not showing any signs of envenomation. If they have been bitten on a limb a compression bandage can be applied to reduce the absorption and circulation of the venom. Do not try and remove the venom or apply a tornique. 

The signs of snake bite vary according to the type of snake and the amount of venom injected. Brown Snakes and Tiger Snakes have a very potent neurotoxin in their venom which causes a rapid paralysis which will quickly lead to paralysis or the respiratory muscles and death. It is really important to get immediate veterinary help. 

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