Veterinarian Emergencies: Snake' Bites

Although this is not a usual fact, sometimes some animals affected by snakes’ bites come to our clinic.

As many readers can remember, about these days last year, there was a certain fear in the town when a dog of about 25 kilos was brought to us after having dead suddenly when an animal had bitten it while it was walking around the area located between the little village Los Lorentes and Puerto de Mazarrón. After exploring the animal, we observed a wound of a bite which was compatible with an ophidian one. Given the size of the animal and the little time from the bite to the death, we considered necessary to call out our colleagues of the toxicology department in the Faculty of Veterinary in Murcia, who after picking some tests up, confirmed it. Besides, they claimed that it should be a big size snake, due to the distance between the orifices of the bite, so the possibility of an exotic snake, escaped or brought there by someone arose, given that the native poisonous species do not achieve that size. Given the closeness of houses to the area, the Seprona took action, putting several foods for ophidians and tracking the place. The Town Council also cleared a great part of the plot where the crime was produced. From then on, all kind of speculations and gossips about the snake’s origin took place. In fact, many people said they had seen huge snakes in different places and we filled our freezer in the clinic with a lot of animals that appeared dead, mostly for intoxications for pesticides and that their owners or neighbours reclaimed them to practised the necropsy or the taking of tests.

Since then, luckily, we have had no news about any case of a dead animal as a consequence of snake’s bites.

However, we do have assisted in this year two animals, a cat and a dog, affected for wounds caused by no poisonous ophidians’ bites. In these both cases, the only thing they both needed was to get their wounds disinfected as well as some antibiotics and analgesia for some days.

But, if we are after a poisonous snake’s bite, we have to value immediately the vital constants of the animal, as well as to do a blood analysis including haemogram, bio-chemic and time of coagulation. As soon as possible, we must treat the animal at the same time we wash and disinfect well the wound and then, give it some antibiotics. It would be necessary an antidote, although these are difficult to find. I know that they can be only got through a Navarra distributor who brings this anti-poison from France.

Av. Costa Cálida Nº 31 - CP 30860 Puerto de Mazarrón (Murcia)