With summer on the way, pet owners are being warned not to let their dogs or cats become one of the estimated thousands of snakebite statistics recorded in Australia each year.
Dr Mark Davis says although the start of spring has been mild, there have already been three cases of snakebite treated at the University of Melbourne
U-Vet Hospital in Werribee. And Dr Davis expects dozens more.
“Snake bites are becoming more common as we increasingly have housing encroach on their natural habitat,” Dr Davis said.
“We’ve got growing populations and the snakes are still around, so we’ve got a lot more interaction. I think the numbers of bites are slightly increasing
year by year.”
The University of Melbourne U-Vet Hospital in Werribee sees an average of 50 to 75 cases each snake season, with dogs and cats bitten in equal numbers.
“It’s in their nature to go hunting for prey, including snakes – especially some breeds, then they get into a bit of a stoush,” Dr Davis said.
“It depends on who’s quickest who lives.”
It can often be difficult for owners to tell if their pets have been bitten, given bite marks are often indistinguishable.
Owners should look out for symptoms such as vomiting, dilated pupils, paralysis or difficulties moving.
New Zealander Kathryn Jenkins – herself a vet – moved to Point Cook about 10 months ago with her family and “adventurous” seven-year-old Burmese, Nemo. Recently,
Nemo returned from his usual outdoors trek looking a little worse for wear.
“He had vomited a few times, but we didn’t think much of this,” she said.
“It wasn’t until later that night that we saw he was a bit lethargic, had very large pupils – in bright light, which is not normal – and seemed a
bit puffy in the face.”
After consulting U-Vet staff by phone, she brought Nemo to the hospital where he tested positive to Tiger snake bite.
Tiger snakes, along with Brown snakes, are among the most common culprits when it comes to bites.
“I was feeling sick in my stomach and when he stopped crying halfway there (to the hospital) I thought he might have passed away, so it was a horrible
drive in,” Dr Jenkins said. Three days in intensive care and two vials of anti-venom later and Nemo is back home and recovering.
Dr Davis believes more owners are signing up for pet insurance to guard against the ever-present danger of snakes – and the associated costs of
treatment. “They’ve realised that there is no Medicare for pets, so if their pet needs a trip to the hospital, they want to be prepared for that.”
Snakebite remains a huge problem for Australians and their beloved pets. On average, almost 600 people go to hospital for treatment, while between two
and four people die each year from snakebite.
While there are no statistics on the number of pets affected, Dr Davis says it would easily number in the thousands.
Leading toxicologist Ken Winkel, also with the University of Melbourne, agrees snakebites are becoming more prevalent
“It’s an enduring problem – even in urban areas,” he said.
“The idea that you can’t get an urban life-threatening snakebite is, simply, incorrect.”
Symptoms to look for:
Sudden weakness or collapse
Blood in the urine
Rapid, shallow breathing
What to do:
Seek emergency assistance immediately
Keep pet as still as possible
Do not try to locate or kill the snake
Clear backyards of tall grass and rubbish piles
Take care walking pets near waterways or bushy areas
Keep pets indoors at dusk and at night if possible
Accommodation:10% off bookings at Quest Serviced Apartments, Synnot Street, Werribee, Vic 3030 Ph: (03) 8744 6000
This year we are extremely excited to welcome David Liss as our guest international speaker, alongside a wealth of inspirational local presenters.
Two half day workshop sessions on Friday provide opportunities to develop hands on skills in small groups. Saturday and Sunday are packed full of
lectures covering a variety of topics including behaviour, anaesthesia and emergency and critical care.
Take full advantage of the opportunity to update your knowledge and skills with useful tools that can be applied in your practice. Learn from passionate
and professional speakers hailing from a variety of backgrounds.
GUEST SPEAKER- David Liss, Veterinary Technician
David is a double board-certified veterinary technician specialist in emergency/critical care and small animal internal medicine and has diverse background
in emergency and critical care nursing. He has contributed to numerous veterinary texts and was awarded the Veterinary Technician Educator of the Year
award in 2012 by Western Veterinary Conference. David currently directs the veterinary technology program at Platt College in Los Angeles, works as
an ICU technician and runs his own consulting business.
Meet ‘Daisy’ the beautiful 56kg Leonberger who has been one of our regular blood donors at The University of Melbourne canine blood donor program. ‘Daisy’ is just about to hit retirement age so will no longer be able to donate her precious blood to help the many emergency patients presented at U-Vet Animal Hospital.
Each one of Daisy’s donations helped 3 dogs in emergency situations and we are so thankful that she has been part of the team!
Want to find out more about your dog becoming a blood donor?
Blood donors Fido and DJ, 2-year-old Great Dane X Labrador X Pointer brothers CANINE BLOOD DONOR PROGRAM
Just like humans, pets can suffer from life-threatening illness such as anaemia, toxicity, trauma or severe injury that could result in them needing a
life-saving blood transfusion.
What is the process? We run initial blood screening tests on your dog to confirm blood type and to ensure they have no underlying health issues followed by a full physical
examination at no cost. Tests are reviewed and if approved by our veterinarian, your dog can donate blood. It takes approximately 20-30 minutes to donate
that’s why it’s important your dog has a calm temperament.
What do you do with the blood my pet donates? Each donation is separated into 2-3 products: plasma and red blood cells which are used to treat and save the lives of animals suffering trauma, anaemia
or clotting problems.
One life saving donation from your dog will help treat and potentially save the lives of up to three other pets. Maximum 4 donations per year.
Our way of saying thank you! Donating your furry family member’s blood is a lifesaving gift to the 100s of patients a year who desperately need it and to thank you we offer your pet
FREE regular blood tests and veterinary examinations to ensure that your dog stays healthy and other generous gifts eg. Free take home treats, dog food.**
OUR BLOOD STOCKS ARE CRITICALLY LOW.
We urgently need donors! For more information, to chat to someone about donating or to sign up your dog to be a lifesaving blood donor, contact: U-Vet Canine Blood Donor Program on
(03) 9731 2328 or by via the blood donor form below.
BEFORE COMPLETING THE FORM, PLEASE CONFIRM YOUR DOG MEETS THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
1-5 years old
Never received a blood transfusion
Known history of good health
Must live in Victoria
Known travel history
Your dog is available to donate up to four times a year
MEET OUR CANINE SUPERHERO DONORS
April Irish Wolfhound X Mastiff Meet the absolutely gorgeous ‘April’ the 40kg Irish Wolfhound X Mastiff. ‘April’ came into U-Vet recently to have her free examination and blood work
as part of the Blood Donor Program. She very kindly donated a full unit of blood for patients in need and was an absolute pleasure to have as our new
donor dog! We cannot wait until we see her again! April’s kind donation has the potential to help 3 different dogs! And if she donates regularly has
the ability to help up to 12 recipient patients per year!!
Archie Border Collie Meet the wonderful Archie who is a regular at the Blood Donor Program. Archie donates his time, blood and beautiful attitude every several months
and at present has donated enough blood to potentially save the lives of 16 dogs! AMAZING! Thank you Archie!
Angus Catahoula Leopard Dog X Meet Angus our newest addition to the blood donor program. Angus is a Catahoula Leopard Dog X and he is 4 years old. He recently came in to The University
of Melbourne to do his first blood donation and he was the perfect patient. He sat well for all of his blood tests and then lay down for us while we
took 450ml donation. Afterwards he devoured a large bowl of food. His blood donation has the potential to help 3 other dogs in emergency situations
and we are so thankful to have him as our newest donor!
Matilda Greyhound This is Matilda the stunning Greyhound who is our latest donor to The University of Melbourne Blood Donor Program. We are so excited to have Matilda
on board as she has such a beautiful nature and is an absolute pleasure to have in the clinic. Matilda is an adopted Greyhound who lives with her Greyhound
sister Pip. Her generous donation has the ability to help save the lives of 3 different patients in emergency situations – Thank you Matilda!
Skyler German Wirehaired Pointer This is the gorgeous Skyler who is a German Wirehaired Pointer. So far Skyler has donated 3 times – that’s a potential of 9 dogs that have been
helped with Skyler’s incredibly generous blood donation, but not only is she generous she is an absolute delight to have in the clinic!
Pepper Labrador X Staffordshire Terrier Meet the absolutely gorgeous ‘Pepper’ the stunning and sturdy 35kg Labrador X Staffordshire Terrier. ‘Pepper’ visited the U-Vet Blood Donor Program
to have his free examination and blood work to see if he was a suitable donor – which he was. He very kindly donated a full unit of blood for patients
in need and was an absolute pleasure to have as our new donor dog! We cannot wait until we see him – and possibly his brother - again! Pepper’s
kind donation has the potential to help 3 different dogs! And if he donates regularly has the ability to help up to 12 recipient patients per year!!
Nala Rhodesian Ridgeback Meet Nala who is a gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback who has now donated twice at the UVet Blood Donor Program – that means that her kind donations
have the potential of helping 6 dogs! Thank you Nala!
Mopane Staghound cross Meet the utterly gorgeous Mopane who is a Staghound cross and routine blood donor! Mopane very kindly dropped into the clinic only recently to
give her 3rd donation to a patient that was very much in need…thanks Mopane – we couldn’t do it without you!
Benji Labrador Retriever We had the absolute pleasure in meeting ‘Benji’ the Labrador Retriever when he came to The University of Melbourne Animal Hospital to take part
in the Blood Donor Program. ‘’Benji’ had a full health check including lots of important blood tests. Afterwards he very kindly sat for us while
he donated a full unit of blood so that it can be used to help patients in the Intensive Care Unit in emergency and critical care situations! Thanks
‘Benji’ – we can’t wait to see you again!
Clay Staffordshire Terrier This is ‘Clay’ the gorgeous Staffordshire Terrier who we were all so lucky to meet recently! ‘Clay’ visited the U-Vet Blood Donor Program to have
his free examination and blood work to see if he was a suitable donor – which he was. He very kindly donated a full unit of blood for patients
in need! He was the perfect patient, thank you so much ‘Clay’!!
Clay’s kind donation has the potential to help 3 different dogs! And if he donates regularly has the ability to help up to 12 recipient patients
Bridgette Greyhound Meet Bridgette, the 4 year old Greyhound who is the newest addition to U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital & the University of Melbourne Blood
Donor Program. Bridgette popped in to visit us at the clinic last week, had a full examination and blood tests done before generously donating
a pint of blood to help patients in need! She was an absolutely wonderful patient and enjoyed all the attention, cuddles and treats she received!