Many local vets are reminding dog and cat owners they are stocking antivenom to help treat snake bites, with several pets already dying locally this season.
Dozens of bites and several animal deaths have been reported in the last month, particularly around parts of the Bellarine.
Local snake catcher Darren Keiller revealed earlier this week there’s been 20 reports of snakes in the past month, while on Sunday two cats were bitten, one of which died, plus a dog bitten and killed at Thiteenth Beach in Barwon Heads.
Lead Vet from Fur Life Highton and Torquay, Dr. George Johnston, said as most local vets and all emergency clinics stock multi-snake antivenom, identifying the snake it not high on the agenda.
“Most clinics will carry snake antivenom,” Dr. Johnston said.
“It’s critically important if a snake does bite a dog to get the antivenom into the dog as quickly as possible,” he said.
“That one major component in increasing the dog or cat survival is getting that antivenom in.”
Dr. Robyn Blackwell from Our Vet Geelong also revealed her vet stocks antivenom to help treat snake bites.
She said it’s vital to keep an eye on your pets as it’s not always easy to tell when a dog or cat has been bitten.
“They will often have almost like an allergic reaction and collapse, but then they’ll often become quite normal again,” Dr. Blackwell said.
“People sometimes think that because they’ve become normal that they’re okay, but that’s what the toxin does.”
Dr. Blackwell also reminded owners to be cautious when approaching a pet who may have just been bitten by a snake.
“Don’t go near the snake.
“That’s the most common time that people get bitten.
“We don’t need to know what kind of snake it is, we’ve got multivalent antivenom, stay away from the snakes.”
The following local vets have confirmed to Geelong Broadcasters they stock multi-snake antivenom:
- Our Vet Geelong
- Fur Life Highton
- Fur Life Torquay
- Vet 2 Pet in Lara
- Kardinia Vet clinic** doesn’t stock anti-venom but the emergency clinic next door does.