Snake Bites in Dogs and Cats

October 1st, 2014

There has been a significant increase in the reported number of venomous snakebites in animals in and around Nashville, TN. Although snakebites in animals are common for the region, any increase is cause for concern, because of the serious nature of such bites. Snakes are usually found near water or in wooded, rural areas. Copperheads, water moccasins and rattlesnakes are the three most common threats.

Time is critical when using Antivenin treatment, which is most successful when given within the first four hours. Pain, swelling, nausea, collapse, and bruising are all symptoms of snakebites. It is important to pay attention to these signs, especially if living in an area that is highly populated with snakes. Snake bites are usually more easily treated because they tend to occur on the face and are more apparent. Dogs also tend to whimper and paw at their faces, which alerts pet owners to the injury. Cats however, will usually hide and retreat when they are sick, so owners are likely to not be aware of any bites until it may be too late. Cats are also often bit on the paw, which makes the injury less evident. Being familiar with these symptoms and able to take immediate action if you suspect an animal has been bit is critical.