Snake Poisoning In Dogs

Snake bite poisoning is common in dogs as by nature dogs are curious, restless and usually explore their surroundings with their nose and mouth. Snake bites are extremely painful and life threatening. The bites of non venomous can turn venomous if not treated. Snake bites occur mostly in face or extremities of dogs that stay outdoors. Snakes usually hibernate during winter months and are active during summer and so it takes place mostly during spring and summer months.

Poisonous snakes are divided into

(a) Elapine (neurotoxic): Examples are Cobra, Mamba, Death Adder, Brown snake, Coral

(b) Vaperine (haemotoxic): Examples are Puff Adder, Rattle snake, European Adder

Neurotoxic signs are flaccid paralysis, respiratory paralysis. In case of haemotoxic venom, the toxins are released in the blood. Arterial thrombosis and necrosis are seen.How to differentiate between poisonous and non poisonous snake?

In poisonous snake bite small rows of biting area along with two deep biting area on the sides are seen. In case of non-poisonous snake bite two rows of small biting areas are seen.

Poisonous snakes usually have a triangular or arrowhead-shaped head except in case of coral snake. Most poisonous snakes have vertical, elliptical (cat like) pupil whereas in case of non-poisonous snakes, the pupil are round and located in the center of the eye.

Most poisonous snakes has single row of scales on the underside of the tail, except in case of poisonous coral snake, which has a double row. A double row is common in most non-poisonous snakes.

Poisonous snake has sensory pit or hole located between its eyes and nostrils whereas non-poisonous snakes lack these specialized sensory pits.

What are the signs and symptoms of snake poisoning?

Signs and symptoms depends on the number of times the dog was bitten, amount of snake venom in the dog. Bleeding occurs from the punctured wounds and the bitten area become swollen. There is bruising of the bitten area along with haemorrhaging on gums, lips and other areas of skin. In the initial period, the dog may collapse. Salivation, shock, trembling, vomiting occurs . The dog exhibits weakness, dilated pupils, difficulty in breathing, nausea, lethargy, flaccid paralysis and other neurological signs. There is possibility of blood in the urine.