Could you tell if your dog was bitten by a snake?

MEGS lies on a blanket on the floor of the veterinary clinic, in pain and barely able to move.

The 3-and-a-half-year-old border collie was bitten by a brown snake on the weekend, and she's one of the lucky ones in a snake season that has seen more than double the usual amount of canine victims so far.

Veterinarian Dr Shannon Coyne said 14 dogs had been brought to Gympie Veterinary Services in the last two weeks after suffering venomous snake bites.

Two of the dogs couldn't be saved had to be euthanaised.

"Last year the same period had six cases," Doctor Coyne said.

He said Megs was "pretty well comatose" when she was brought to the clinic.

"She needed a bit of ventilation to start with because her lungs were paralysed," Dr Coyne said.

Megs responded well to snake antivenom, and has been slowly recovering since.

She was finally able to move her head and eat a little food yesterday, and Dr Coyne hoped she could go home today or tomorrow.

"We do normally see an increase this time of year as the days warm up, but we are certainly seeing more bites this year," he said.

"It may be due to a mild winter and the recent hot days."

He said dogs out of urban centres tended to see more snakes, but bite victims came from anywhere.

"There hasn't been any particular breed affected but anecdotally terriers are pretty shocking for chasing snakes, and lately there have been a lot of staffys."

He said a snake bite could affect pets in different ways.

"Some dogs collapse and then show apparent recovery, some dogs show only bleeding which won't stop and some dogs have paralysis," Dr Coyne said.

"The signs can occur immediately, or can be delayed by hours, depending on the bite site and volume of venom.

"Most of the bites are brown snakes, with black snakes next most common."

He said anyone who suspected their dog had been bitten should keep them calm and take them to a vet immediately.

"In our hands, 90% of dogs treated with antivenom will have a full recovery," he said.

Gympie Times


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