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Posted on 07-11-2011

A wide variety of snakes call Austin home, most of which are non-venomous. The most common venomous snake encountered in the Austin area is the West Diamond back Rattlesnake. Nocturnal by nature, rattlesnakes are often likely to be spotted during evening hours when temperatures are cool in the summer.

Tips for handing snake bits in petsIf your pet has been bitten by a snake, visit one of our Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin locations right away. If the bite occurs during regular hours, call your regular veterinarian immediately. Our hospitals have after-hours veterinarians on staff, meaning we are only open on nights, weekends and holidays (when your regular vet clinic is often closed).

Signs of a Pet Snake Bite

Snake bites commonly consist of one, two, or a few small puncture wounds, so if you see these there is a good chance that your pet has had a snake bite. Most pet snake bites occur on the head or neck. Both cat symptoms and dog symptoms not only include puncture wounds but also bleeding, swelling, and bruising at the site of the bite. Tissue necrosis, or tissue cell death, will likely be seen. If it has been several hours since the snake bit, severe systemic symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, nausea, vomiting, muscle tremors, hypo-tension, shock, a depressed respiration may occur.

cat and dog symptoms of a snake biteIn many cases, when pet snake bites from a non-poisonous snake or when the venom was not injected, the swelling, bruising, and pain at the site will be minimal, resulting in little discomfort to your pet. Snake bites to the pet's trunk have a poorer prognosis than snake bites to the head or neck. That said, snake bites typically affect one or more of the body's systems. For instance, a snake bite may affect the nervous system, coagulation system, or the cardiopulmonary system.

It's important to restrict the movement of your pet after a snake bite. Do not apply a tourniquet or aspirate the snake venom. We also do not suggest applying ice to the area.

Although we understand you may not have seen the snake bite happen, providing identification of the snake will be helpful to our Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin veterinarians. If you suspect your pet has been bitten by a snake, please seek veterinary medical attention immediately.

Have you seen any snakes in your Austin back yard? Is so, what kind where they?


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