Snakes are a part of life in Louisiana, but they pose a significant risk to pet safety. Do you know what you would do if your furry friend was the victim of a snake bite? Brownswitch Pet Hospital is ready to prepare you for how to handle snake bites in dogs and cats.
What to Do if Your Pet is Bitten By a Snake
If your pet is bitten by a snake (or you suspect that they may have been), keep calm. Not all snakes in Louisiana are venomous, and many bites even from venomous snakes are dry.
You might not always witness snake bites in dogs and cats, but if your pet has swelling and bleeding (typically on the nose or limbs), you should assume a snake bite is the culprit. Pets who have been bitten may also seem weak or have pale mucous membranes.
A potential snake bite is a veterinary emergency. Do not delay in seeking help. Home remedies like attempting to suck out venom, applying tourniquets, applying ice, and making cuts can all waste valuable time.
If your pet has been bitten:
- Seek veterinary attention immediately
- Take a picture of the snake for identification purposes if possible
- Keep the bite wound at or below heart level as much as possible
- Encourage your pet to stay still and quiet
Quick action improves the prognosis for a venomous snake bite. Blood pressure and shock support as well as potential administration of antivenin are often part of treatment.
Prevention is Key
Avoiding snakes when possible and respecting their space when you do find them is the best way to avoid a bite.
As a pet owner, you can practice good snake safety by:
- Steering clear of tall brush and weeds where snakes like to live
- Using caution when moving logs, rocks, or other debris that may be a snake shelter
- Keeping to marked trails when out and about
- Keeping your dog on a leash to improve your control and prevent them from entering suspect areas
- Teaching your pet to come when reliably when called or to “leave it” to interrupt any encounters that do happen
- Keeping the rodent population on your property controlled so as not to attract snakes
- Not allowing pets to bother wildlife, even if it’s dead
- Discussing with us whether vaccinating your pet against rattlesnake venom is recommended
Most snakes will not attack unless they feel threatened, so keeping your pet under control on a leash is the best way to limit opportunities for bites. Not all snakes are venomous, but it is a good idea to treat them all as if they were.