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Milo Amiguet......SSSnakes in SSSummer

Late November, early on a Friday morning, Milo Amiguet, a beautiful German Short-haired Pointer from Hurstbridge came to our Greensborough clinic with a suspected snake bite. 

Milo’s family phoned ahead to tell us what they thought had happened so it was a mad rush to get Milo treatment. By phoning ahead, we arranged the medication and I/V fluids, so they were ready to be administered as soon as Milo arrived and had been examined by one of our vets. En route, the family confirmed that they had found a dead snake in the backyard!

On examination, he was tremoring and shaking, his pupils were dilated and poor Milo was unable to stand.  But by 8.20am, Milo had received a much needed vial of antivenim.  Within 30 minutes of receiving the antivenim, the response was amazing. Milo’s tremors had subsided and his pupils were close to a normal response to light.  By mid-afternoon, Milo’s recovery was incredible - he was looking for attention from the nurses and was able to walk outside to urinate.  

After looking at security camera footage at home, the Amiguet’s could see Milo grab a tiger snake from the garden and whip it around with his mouth. The snake died and Milo tired of playing with it, but by then it was too late, Milo had been bitten during this altercation with the tiger snake.  Fortunately, Milo was able to go home on the same day but with strict instructions to watch for a relapse, blood in the urine or anything abnormal and to return immediately if there was a problem.  Three days later, Milo returned for a check-up.  The Amiguet’s reported that he is not quite back to his normal activity levels and his appetite is still poor, but it is still early days in the recovery process.  It may take many weeks for Milo to return to his normal habits.

Milo is lucky that his owners were alert enough to realise what was happening - it could quite easily have been a different ending.

Snakes don’t like being near humans any more than human like snakes, but being proactive and keeping a cool head will keep you and your pet safe.  Most snake bites occur when the snakes are disturbed, frightened or we try to move them.  If you see a snake at home, do not try to kill or catch it, this is when they strike out. The safest thing to do is to just walk away slowly. 

The signs of snake bite in your pet may include:

  • sudden weakness or collapse  
  • shaking or twitching
  • vomiting
  • dilated pupils
  • loss of bladder control                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

If your pet is bitten keep them calm and quiet.  Take them to a veterinarian immediately.  DO NOT wash the wound or tourniquet it. Early treatment will help the chances of recovery and if you can identify the breed of snake this will help determine which antivenom should be given.

If we remain vigilant, we can keep our pets safe this summer.