After months of cool weather and long nights, once again the days of spring are nearly upon us. While most of us yearn to get back outside and enjoy the fair weather, veterinary professionals are advocating for increased awareness of snakebite risks for both pets and owners alike.
The spring season is the most active time for reptiles, including venomous snakes such as the coral, copperhead, cottonmouth, and water moccasin. Typically, these animals are non-aggressive, but may attack if provoked. Representatives from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science also urge awareness of snakebite risks.
Snakebites are dangerous for pets and humans alike, potentially resulting in serious illness or death. Medical treatment for a snakebite can exceed $50,000 per occurrence, including hospitalization, anti-venom, and treatment of affected tissue. Outdoor pets, like cats and dogs, are at a particularly significant risk for snakebites and should be monitored closely. Dogs are typically are bitten on the nose or face, while cats are often bitten on their paws. These areas should be checked routinely for bites. While the signs of a snakebite can vary depending on the type of bite, there are some general symptoms to watch for.
Signs of a snakebite:
♦ Fang-like marks on the skin
♦ Skin discoloration
♦ Bleeding from the wound
♦ Inflammation (swelling)
♦ Excessive thirst
♦ Dizziness, weakness, and fainting
♦ Loss of coordination
♦ Fast pulse rate
♦ Nausea and vomiting
♦ Kidney failure (within the first 24 hours)
Awareness and preparedness are the keys to avoiding the dangers of snakebite this spring season. Routinely monitor pets, be wary of poisonous snake species, keep a snakebite kit
on hand for emergency situations, and seek medical attention as soon as possible.