Meet Tilly & Tina
At the Launceston Veterinary Clinic, we have recently treated quite a few animals for snake bites. Our most recent snake bite patient was Tilly, a one year old Burmese. Tilly's owners already knew what symptoms to expect with a snakebite as Tilly's sister, Tina, had been hospitalised with us in September for the same thing.
Snakebites can present with a high heart rate, increased respiratory rate, pale gums , overall weakness, mental dullness, drooling, change in voice, drowsiness, disorientation and trouble swallowing. After a period of time progressive muscle weakness and respiratory paralysis may develop. Many unseen changes can also occur, including kidney failure, muscle break down, respiratory compromise, poor blood clotting and complete organ failure. If left untreated most cases of venomous snake bites result in death.
Tilly's initial symptoms were lethargy, a change in her meow and dilated pupils. Within a few hours of noticing these signs Tilly had become paralysed and was having difficulty breathing. Her owners promptly called the clinic to let us know they were bringing her in.
Upon arriving Tilly was floppy and unresponsive. We immediately ran a series of blood tests, and placed Tilly on intravenous fluids and oxygen. Tilly's blood results demonstrated that her blood failed to clot and her creatinine kinase (CK) was extremely high. A high CK indicates that there is severe muscle damage occurring. These blood results confirmed that Tilly had been bitten by a snake.
With the okay from Tilly's owners we immediately started snake bite treatment. Tilly was administered one vial of antivenin and within 20 minutes she began to become more alert.
Tilly was monitored very closely throughout the day and continued to show promising signs of recovery. However, Tilly was still very weak and lethargic so we opted to keep her in hospital until she was able to eat and walk. Gradually she became more active, and was bright enough to be sent home after staying with us for two and a half days.
Tilly is now happily recovered at home with her sister Tina. Their owners are quite shocked that they could have both been bitten by snakes in such a short period of time and were sure they will be keeping a very close eye on all future outdoor excursions.
If you suspect your pet has suffered from a snake bite please do not hesitate to contact the clinic on (03) 6344 4566.