What should you do if your dog is bitten by a snake? Dogs are very active animals which is one of the main reasons it is recommended to take them for a walk every day. However, there are times when our furry friends are exposed to various dangers while they are away from home. This could include ingesting an object that can make them sick or being attacked by a dangerous animal like a snake. The latter can cause your furry friend to face serious health issues and possibly death if he does not receive emergency veterinary treatment.
Viper bites can be fatal for any living being; however, in dogs, the statistics paint a very grim picture. The number of cases related to snakebites of this type increases significantly in the spring and summer months. This is mainly due to snakes being cold-blooded animals that need the heat produced by the sun, causing them to make their way into the path of your furry friend.
Vipers are part of a sub-family of venomous snakes, and their venom is very lethal. Although bites in people are not likely to cause death, in dogs, the fate is not the same. Although, most likely, this large difference is due to factors such as weight, height, and the immune system itself.
In general, these reptiles tend to attack dogs when they get too close, either out of curiosity or because they feel danger, and it is precisely at those times that the attacks occur, causing great damage to the dog. To avoid and know what to do in cases like these, you must keep in mind what we will explain below.
Symptoms of a snake bite
When a dog is bitten by one of these venomous snakes, poisonous toxins are introduced into its body. These toxins are produced by the snake’s venom gland. As a result, the bite wound, which is usually around the neck, legs, or snout, becomes inflamed to the point that it can suffocate the dog. In addition, the toxins make their way to the blood vessels and are carried through the bloodstream, causing swelling and irreversible damage to important organs such as the heart and kidneys.
What are the symptoms of a snake bite in a dog? Some of the symptoms that can occur after a snake bite depends on the dog’s characteristics. In the case of large breeds, the chances of surviving in this situation are high. On the contrary, in smaller dog breeds, the chance of survival is reduced, this is because the poison reaches vital organs sooner, causing death. The most common symptoms of a snakebite are:
- Puncture wounds caused by the fangs in the form of two holes.
- Inflammation of the area.
- Acute pain when you touch the area.
- Formation of an edema.
- Mild or severe bleeding.
- Tachycardia, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Excessive salivation.
- Sudden weakness.
- Disorientation and loss of balance.
- Muscle tremors.
Most of these symptoms usually appear within minutes after the snake attack.
What to do if your dog is bit by a snake
Experiencing a situation like this is not easy for a dog owner. However, staying calm is very important. The first thing you should do is examine the dog’s condition and locate the place where it was bitten by the viper. You must carry out this inspection to make sure that a snake and not an insect caused the bite.
You will need soap and water to wash the wound. However, rubbing the area too much as it may make it worse. In addition, you must immobilize your pet. This will prevent his heart from beating faster, and at the same time, the toxins will not move in an accelerated way through the bloodstream.
Try to locate the snake that caused the bite and take a photo of it using your mobile. Then, you can help the vet identify the type of snake that caused the wound in your fur baby. In some cases, it may be a non-venomous snake. However, before starting the search for the viper, you must be very careful as these cold-blooded animals can inflict serious damage to humans.
The next step is to transfer the dog as soon as possible to a veterinary clinic. The veterinarian will be in charge of providing the appropriate treatment, which is generally based on antibiotics, corticosteroids, or anti-inflammatories. In addition, they will use an IV line to administer fluid to your dog.
Antibiotics are used to prevent the wound from becoming infected, while anti-inflammatories are used to decrease inflammation. The IV line is used so that the kidneys continue to function, and thus, the toxins can be quickly diluted. The idea is to seek emergency medical care within an hour after the snake attack. In this way, the chances that the dog will get out alive will increase with veterinary attention.
What not to do if you dog is bit by a snake
Viper bites are not a game. It is for this reason you should not perform any action without knowing what you are doing. Remember that not everything you see in the movies is true.
Among the actions that you should never do in situations like these are the following:
Sucking the wound: The truth is that you will achieve nothing positive, and also, you would be risking your own life in the process by ingesting the snake venom.
Apply tourniquets: If you have never made a tourniquet this is not the ideal time to start. You could cause more harm to your pet. The best thing to do is go to the vet
preventing snake bites in dogs
Summer and spring are the hottest seasons of the year, and it is precisely the time that snakes prefer to go out for some sun. Normally, it is not advisable to go for a walk with your dog when it is boiling as it could be affected by what is known as “heat stroke,” this occurs when the temperatures are very high, in addition, you do not want to run into any of these dangerous reptiles.
If you have no other option and have to take your dog for a walk, it is essential to be very careful. If you come across a snake on the way, get away from the site as fast as possible. Then, if you can, inform animal control of the presence of the viper so they can remove the poisonous snake.
The most common places where there is a greater presence of vipers are small streams, lakes, plantations, etc.
how to differentiate a viper from a non-venomous snake
As we mentioned earlier, identifying the type of snake that attacked your pet is very important so that you can save its life. However, if you are lucky it may have been a non-venomous snake. It may be a bit confusing, especially if you don’t know about these animals, but some differences can be seen with the naked eye.
Common characteristics of vipers:
- The eyeballs are oval while the pupils are usually longer, they are very similar to those of a feline.
- The scales are uniform and small.
- Its head has a triangular shape.
- Its colors are quite striking and bright.
- Its bite leaves a mark of two fangs.