Perth’s beautiful bushland corridors and lakes provide a haven for all wildlife including snakes. Perth snakes tend to be shy Dugites, Gwardars and Tiger snakes and prefer to avoid confrontation, however when attacked, bitten, chased or disturbed by an inquisitive dog and cat they can inflict a lethal bite.
Signs of snake bite can be subtle at first and can progress with devastating rapidity to complete paralysis and an inability to breathe which is the most common cause of death in animals. Additionally, snake venom may stop the blood clotting causing internal bleeding and with tiger snakes bites severe muscle damage also occurs.
If you see your pet in close contact with a snake it is important that you immediately phone your regular veterinarian or an emergency service to inform them that you are coming down with a potential snake bite patient and if necessary obtain first aid advice. If your dog is small enough carry it to the car as activity accelerates the spread of the toxin.
Always take your pet to the vet immediately, while trying to keep it calm. Do not take a wait and see approach and don’t waste time looking for the bite as it is rare to be able to find bites in dogs and cats.
If the snake is dead, carefully pick it up with a shovel to take it to the vet(in a bucket helps). However, do not attempt to kill or catch live snakes (which are protected species). If necessary, Veterinarians can run tests to determine the best type of antivenom to use and we don’t want to have to deal with envenomated humans as well!
Keeping dogs on a lead when walking in bushland, preventing cats from wandering, having well-mowed lawns and ensuring there are no piles of rubble near the house, can all help prevent pets and snakes coming into close contact.