Pets under attack from snake increase

SNAKE bites to pets are on the rise, according to the UQ Gatton Veterinary Centre.

The university has reported a sharp increase in snake bites to family pets in recent weeks.

Head of service of the small animal hospital Dr Bob Doneley said hot weather and an increase in prey such as mice and frogs had seen snake numbers grow.

He said the combination of a high number of snakes and small pets was a disaster waiting to happen.

"Snakes are common in the Lockyer Valley region and are more active during the summer months, making snake bite a common problem for pets, pet owners and vets," he said.

"Recently, the UQ Veterinary Medical Centre has seen more than five cases a week. On one day alone, we had five dogs presented with snake bite."

Dr Doneley said bites from eastern brown snakes and red bellied blacks were making up the majority of cases. Symptoms from a bite from either of these snakes may lead to a pet being weak and collapsing, often shortly after being bitten.

"It is important to be aware, however, that many animals appear to recover after this initial collapse," Dr Doneley said.

"You may not even think your pet was bitten as they may seem normal for a period of minutes to hours."

However, Dr Doneley said after this period a pet would display signs of envenomation including vomiting, difficulty breathing, drooling and bleeding.

He said if animals were not treated before this period began, the mortality rate rose.

"Early treatment is therefore the key to offering your animal the best chance of survival. If you think your pet has been bitten, don't wait and see, make sure you bring your pet in straight away," he said.

The UQ Gatton Veterinary Medical Centre is open to the public and offers 24-hour emergency care.



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