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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Time to keep watch for snakes

Each spring humans are warned of the dangers of snakes coming out of hibernation, yet it is dogs and cats that receive more than 70 per cent of administered anti-venom.

Cats are natural hunters and often find snakes. A problem to owners of snake-catching cats is their habit of returning to the house with a live snake. Little will discourage cats from hunting snake

Enclosures or backyards where dogs are kept in outer suburban and rural areas should be free of long grass and rubbish. Dry dog food should be stored in such a way as to lessen its availability and attractiveness to mice.

Most snakes will try to avoid you and your pets but while you may simply walk away when you encounter a snake, dogs and cats will often harass the snake and get bitten as a result.

While bush walking, stay on open paths. Keep your dog on a leash and away from high grass and rocks where snakes like to rest. Do not let the dog explore holes or dig under rocks or logs. If you see a snake, remember that a snake can strike only a distance of half its body length. Give the snake time to just go away and slowly walk back the way you came. Snakes are not looking to interact with people or pets

Do not let your pet examine dead snakes. They still have venomous fangs

Identification of a snake can assist in appropriate treatment for your pet but never handle a live snake. Do not attempt to kill or capture the snake; this is not only dangerous to you, but snakes are a protected species by law. If your pet is bitten by a snake, seek veterinary attention immediately. It is better to see a vet and be checked out rather than wait and be sorry

Remain calm. If your pet has been bitten on the neck remove its collar. Keeping your pet as still as possible until reaching a veterinarian is critical to help reduce the movement of the venom from the bite site. Try to keep the bite site below the level of the heart. Treatment options such as cold packs, ice, tourniquets, alcohol, bleeding the wound and trying to suck out venom should not be attempted in place of getting your pet to the vet — they just waste precious time.

The signs of snake bite vary according to the type of snake and the amount of venom injected. Brown Snakes and Tiger Snakes have a very potent neurotoxin in their venom which causes a rapid paralysis which will quickly lead to paralysis or the respiratory muscles and death. It is really important to get immediate veterinary help.

Black snakes do not typically cause paralysis, although it does sometimes occur briefly. They do however have a toxin that causes the red blood cells and muscle to break down. The breakdown products are then filtered out by the kidneys and in the process the kidneys become damaged and acute kidney failure results. Many dogs do not show signs of being bitten until the kidney failure develops.

If you have a snake in your yard which needs relocating contact WIRES on 1300WIRES . Do not try and kill the snake that is when most bites occur. Looking for a new best friend?

The Animal Welfare League, Eurobodalla Branch, has 2 female cats Puss a 5yr old dark tortoiseshell and Emma a 5yr old muted tortoiseshell and the long awaited kitten season is almost here. We still have Tasha the 9mth old female foxie cross looking for a home and the two Maltese/Shih tzu cross sisters who would love to stay together. All our animals are desexed, micro chipped and vaccinated. If you would like more information any of our other pets please phone Elaine 0410 016 612. On Saturday 26th November from 10 -3 Santa and his AWL helpers will be at Petstock, Kylie Cresent, Batemans Bay, Santa would love to have his picture taken with your very special pet. Hope to see you there!

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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