Vet Cross Bundaberg’s Dr Candice Gelmi looks after Jay, one of four dogs brought to the surgery on Friday suffering from snake bites.
Vet Cross Bundaberg’s Dr Candice Gelmi looks after Jay, one of four dogs brought to the surgery on Friday suffering from snake bites. Max Fleet

Spike in snake bites on dogs

THE snake season is proving to be a dangerous one for dogs, with a spike in the number of pets being bitten.

Vet Cross Bundaberg vet Tim Hill said four dogs had been rushed to his surgery on Friday after being bitten by deadly snakes, while another one was brought in late yesterday.

"They're coming from all over," Dr Hill said.

"We had one from Gin Gin, one from Bargara and two in Bundaberg."

Brown snakes were responsible for two of the attacks, with red-bellied blacks attacking the other two dogs.

"Every year we get quite a few, but to get that many that quickly is unusual," Dr Hill said.

"That's more than average."

He said the clinic usually used no more than five vials of antivenene in a typical month, but had gone through at least eight already this month.

And while all of the dogs taken to the Vet Cross clinic in the recent spate of bites survived, not all animals are so lucky.

"We can usually save about 85% of them," Dr Hill said.

"It can take them anywhere from 24 hours to 10 days to recover."

Treatment also comes at a price.

"The antivenene costs about $1000 and then there are the costs of keeping them here," Dr Hill said.

"We have a dog in now who will probably cost over $3000."

Dr Hill said knowing which type of snake caused the bite made things much easier.

"It's always best if we know the type of snake so it's good if people can give us a description or, if the snake was killed, bring it in," he said.

"Accurate identification of the snake allows us to use the right antivenene."

The vet said it was almost impossible to prevent dogs from being bitten by snakes.

"Most dogs are inquisitive and some will want to know what it is and some will want to kill it," he said.

Signs your dog has been bitten include paralysis, red or black urine and general illness.

"The symptoms will progress, so it's best to bring them as quickly as reasonably possible," Dr Hill said.



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