Snake bites recorded by veterinary practices in Australia.

P. J. Mirtschin, P. Masci, D. C. Paton, T. Kuchel

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    38 Citations (Scopus)


    OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent of the snake bite problem in domestic animals, its regional significance and the effects of antivenom treatment. DESIGN: A questionnaire was designed seeking information on the number and type of domestic animals referred, whether treated or untreated, type of snakes and management of the bite. PROCEDURE: The survey form was sent to 10% of veterinary surgeons, selected at random throughout Australia. RESULTS: The response of 106 veterinary surgeons revealed that snake bite in domestic animals is frequent, with an estimated 6200 cases reported annually. Bites were more prominent in rural (78%) than urban areas (22%) with brown, tiger and black snakes accounting for 76%, 113% and 6% of cases, respectively. Cats and dogs were the most frequently reported victims. Ninety-one percent of cats and 75% of dogs survived following the administration of antivenom whereas 66% of cats and 31% of dogs survived without antivenom. Overall, in 33% of cases antivenom was not used, and venom detection kits were used in only 1% of cases. A number of drugs were used in various combinations with or without antivenom and intravenous fluids in the treatment of animals with snake bite, but their role in reducing the severity of envenomations was not assessed. CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Antivenom significantly improves the chances of survival of domestic animals bitten by snakes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)195-198
    Number of pages4
    JournalAustralian Veterinary Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 1998

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • veterinary(all)

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