Dog Snake Bite – What to Do and How to Prevent It

Dog Snake BiteDog Snake Bite happen quite a lot in the summer, when dogs are often bitten by snakes, especially by Vipers. During the bite, it injects a venom that quickly causes various symptoms, and may constitute a veterinary emergency. How do you respond to a viper bite on your dog ?

What Are The First Steps ? And How Do We Prevent Bites ?

Poisonous Snakes And Symptoms Associated With A Dog Snake Bite

In general poisonous snakes are the Vipers. Two species are dangerous:

Vipera aspis is present in a large part of the country. It likes the heat, the rocky and bushy places.
Vipera berus can be found everywhere and can live up to 3000 m in the mountains.

They can be found in wooded areas, in wasteland, but also in rocky areas.

Their bites can occur from spring to autumn, with a peak in August as the dog will disturb the Viper in the thickets and brush. Outside this period, Vipers hibernate.

The animal may develop clinical signs within 30 minutes to 3 hours after the bite. The trace of the hooks is visible on the skin and it is very characteristic : 2 wounds from 0.5 to 1 cm. It all depends on the amount of Venom inoculated, there won’t be the same consequences. Snake bites are usually very painful.

Locally, there’s edema, hemorrhage, necrosis, pain. The bite can lead to lameness and a ganglionic reaction (lymph nodes located near the bite area increase in size).

General symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, cardiorespiratory disorders, hypotension, seizures, paralysis…

The major risk is that the dog will develop a venom allergy. That’s why snake bites represent a veterinary emergency.

What To Do In Case Of A Dog Snake Bite?

  • Dog snake bites can be serious and cause your pet’s death.
  • First of all, try to calm down your dog, even if it is often easier said than done! That’s why it’s so important to try to keep yourself calm too in such situation.…
  • Avoid any stress or effort on the part of the dog, so as not to accelerate his heart rate, which would favor the progression of the venom in the body. Avoid walking it as much as possible. If possible, wear it in a blanket.
  • You can apply cold water compresses or an ice pack to the bite area (by inserting a clean cloth against the skin) to ease the pain and limit the spread of the venom.
  • You can also disinfect the wound with an alcohol-free product.
  • In case of a snake bite on a leg, immobilize the affected limb with a splint and a loose band.
  • Bring the animal quickly to the vet: this is an emergency that often requires the animal to be hospitalized. The veterinarian disinfects the wound, the bitten leg is immobilized, and the animal is kept calm and at rest. The treatment then relies on antibiotic therapy (to avoid secondary infections), infusions, analgesic treatment to fight pain, corticosteroids. Depending on the symptoms observed, additional treatment may be required.

What Actions Should Be Avoided?

Do not cut the bite as this may increase the risk of infection,

  • Do not use alcohol or ether as it increases the spread of venom,
  • Do not inject antivenom serum (risk of allergic shock)),
  • Do not place a tourniquet that can cause local lesions to get worse,
  • Do not put a heat source or a flame at the level of the bite (snake venom is not sensitive to heat),
  • Do not use an Aspivenin because it is not necessary.

How Can We Best Avoid Bites ?

When walking with your dog in risky places, make him walk on foot. It is important not to leave your dog behind during walks to the monitor.

Vipers are fearful : hitting the ground with a stick often scares them away.

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