Pet Owners

Snake Bites on Dogs and Cats

By June 8, 2022No Comments

Pets who regularly go outside are susceptible to bites from many different animals and insects just as humans are. Pets are arguably more at risk than humans though, because they like to explore holes and dark places where such things lurk. Snake bites on dogs and cats in Norman, OK, are a common occurrence each year as the weather warms up and these reptiles begin to move around. Most snakes found in Oklahoma are non-venomous and their bite is not dangerous. However, there are also several venomous snake species that live in the state, including rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths. It pays to know the symptoms of snakebites in pets, what to do if your pet is bitten, and how to prevent them from happening.

Symptoms Of Snakebites On Dogs And Cats

If you happen to see your pet get bitten, note the size and markings on the snake to help in identification if you can do so safely. This can help with determining appropriate treatment. If you didn’t see it happen you might see symptoms including:

  • Significant swelling and bleeding
  • Puncture wounds (although they might be hidden by the swelling)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Blood in the urine
  • Bleeding from the nose and mouth
  • Paralysis

*If you see any of these symptoms, get your pet to your veterinarian immediately.

First Aid For Snakebite In Pets

  • Keep your pet quiet, calm, and warm
  • Gently flush out the wound with water
  • Keep the wound site below the level of the heart if possible
  • Carry your pet rather than letting them walk on their own
  • Snakebite wounds can be very painful, so be gentle

Preventing Snakebites

If you’re with your pet outdoors there are some precautions you can take to minimize the risk of snakebites.

  • Keep your pet on a leash while out walking
  • Keep them from exploring holes and under logs and brush
  • Stay in the open and away from cover
  • Be extra careful at night when snakes are most active

If your pet is bitten by a venomous snake, depending on the type, your veterinarian may treat them with antivenin to counteract the venom, antibiotics to prevent infection of the wound, intravenous fluids to keep blood pressure and circulation stable, and pain medication. Hospitalization is likely to be recommended for such supportive care.

If you have questions about snakebites in dogs and cats in Norman, OK, contact the Veterinary Emergency Referral Center and we’ll be happy to answer them.