Spring time hazards and toxins for our pets

SpiderThe days are getting longer as Spring and Summer loom on our doorstep. With that, comes busier times at the vet clinic as pets and their owners get out and about – so do our other creepy crawly and slithering friends!

As snakes hibernate throughout winter, they are most venomous during spring when they prey on their first victims. In the Albury area we tend to see mainly Browns, although the odd Tiger snake can also present.

Following snakebite, an animal may collapse immediately but then apparently recover, then develop symptoms over the course of the next hour which may include:

  • Vomiting, drooling and trembling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Involuntary bladder or bowel release
  • Red or brown discolouration of urine
  • Rapid breathing and/or panting
  • Paralysis (starting with the hind legs and progressing towards the head)

If you notice any of these signs in your pet, it is important to remain calm and keep your pet as quiet as possible, ring your vet immediately and alert them that you are on your way ASAP. Antivenin is the only way to save your pet, and timing is crucial.

Stings from a bee, wasp or spider in dogs and cats are very rarely life-threatening however they often require treatment. Typical signs include, swelling in face, muzzle or nose; hives (large bumps) on any part of the body.
Occasionally, more severe symptoms can set in, such as hives, trouble breathing, diarrhoea or sudden defecation, urination, severe itchiness, weakness, drooling, pale gums, cold limbs, mental confusion or depression and eventual collapse.

Treatment for bites and stings involve carefully removing the sting (if you can see it) and bathe the area with cool water. Placing some ice on it afterwards can be helpful.

  • Restrict exercise to help decrease blood supply to the area and therefore pain and swelling
  • Observe your pet carefully for any of the above mentioned severe symptoms.

It’s best to always ring your vet, who can assess the severity of the problem and will inform you whether it’s vital to bring your pet straight down to the vet clinic for treatment of acute symptoms. If you have antihistamines on hand, it is safe to give your dog a child’s dose as early as possibly to prevent a more severe reaction from occurring.