Cowra vet owners issue snake warning

Dr Kellie Seres and Emma Sutton from Cowra Veterinary Centre with little Monty. Photo: Kelsey Sutor.
Dr Kellie Seres and Emma Sutton from Cowra Veterinary Centre with little Monty. Photo: Kelsey Sutor.

Local vets are calling on pet owners to be vigilant of snake bites after a string of incidents due to the warmer weather.

Dr Kellies Seres from Cowra Veterinary Centre says snake venom is most potent after the invertebrates have emerged from hibernation in October.

Up until late last week the Veterinary Centre had already had two dogs and at least four cats presented with suspected snake bites.

"A lot of bites around here are from brown snakes and we have seen a few red-bellied black snake bites as well," she said.

Whilst veterinary surgeries have anti-venom treatments available, it is crucial that owners get any animals suspected of being bitten to a vet as soon as possible for them to be effective.

"Get in the car and call us, especially those who live out of town," Dr Seres said.

Dr Karen MacAlpine of North Cowra Veterinary Surgery says there has been a number of pets brought in after snakes have been spotted.

"In the last week or two, we've had a couple of dogs and cats come in with suspected snake bites and they have all survived. We have been lucky so far," she said.

According to Dr MacAlpine, most bites occur when cats and dogs attempt to play with or kill snakes.

"Cats and terrier breeds of dogs can be quite good at killing snakes. Time is really important, most dogs die unless treated within an hour," she said.

"Cats seem to tolerate it better but they should get to a vet within six to 12 hours."

Dogs may be observed vomiting, drooling, staggering and collapsing, followed by an apparent "rapid recovery" lasting from 10 to 60 minutes, which usually indicates a lethal bite.

Dr MacAlpine says dogs may also present with symptoms such as red-brown urine, dilated pupils, struggling, rapid and shallow respiration.

"The main thing is don't panic and get your pet to a vet."

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