I can’t believe it is October already! Where have the last few months gone? We had such a long chilly winter but now the sun gets up earlier and its warm rays warm my furry body when I lay on the front veranda.
This is a photo of my snake tale from a few years ago. I became a hero that day as I killed the snake and saved the kids. You may be surprised at my bravery but I will let you know that it was actually one of my shaggy dog stories – I made it up!
This month I, KoKo, with a lot of information from Wembley VetNews, will let you know about Spring-time dangers. We doggies are at risk in the garden and the park.
The most dangerous problems for dogs are:
3. Bees and Wasps
Those long wild grasses that you often see in the bush, parks or the sides of the road are famous for the sharp, sticky, dart-like seeds. The seed or its outer coating, are a common danger to Pets. Either part of the seed may stick to our hair, lodge up our nose, down our ear canals or even up more unpleasant places!
What are the signs a grass seed is in your dog?
Pets may react differently depending on the number, location, and shape of the seed.
Ear: A seed in the ear canal will irritate and cause me to shake my head, scratch at my ear or hold my head at an angle.
Eye: You may suddenly find that I am holding my eye closed because a seed between the eye and the eyelid may make it painful, red and inflamed. An ulcer of the cornea could result and possibly lead to vision loss.
Nose: A seed in the nose may cause me to sneeze, paw at my nose, and will often cause some nasal discharge or even bleeding from the nose (epistaxis).
Skin: I might chew at an area where the seed has become attached and the following may occur:
- The seed becomes attached to the gums, tongue, or mouth.
- We can swallow the seed and it will stick to the back of our throat near the tonsils
- We may cough, retch, or gag, and have difficulty eating and swallowing.
- The seeds burrow deeper into the skin forming a swelling or abscess.
Lungs and other organs: Seeds can be accidentally inhaled or migrate from the skin into the chest and enter the lung where they can cause very serious life-threatening abscesses.
Prevention is your best option, so if I have been around a grass-seed area, please check my coat, any folds of the skin, around my ears, under their tails and around my groin or armpits. Don’t hesitate to take me to the vet for a check.
If you would like to share my “Snake Tail story” for a laugh please see my old Post. Perth has 2 groups of Venomous Snakes, the Brown snakes and Tiger Snakes. We also have many Non-Venomous ones like Pythons and Whip Snakes.
Perth has 2 Venomous Snakes, the Brown snake and Tiger Snake. We also have many Non-Venomous ones like Pythons and Whip Snakes.
Brown snakes like the Dugite are common in bush settings around Perth. They are grey, green, or brown. Large black scales are scattered over the body with a semi-glossy appearance. The most distinguishing characteristic is the head which is small and indistinct from the neck. A dugite can grow up to an average size of 1.5 metres. They are more likely to hide when they think they are seen or are often confused for a stick while they lie silently hoping you will ignore them.
Tiger snakes, on the other hand, tend to inhabit areas closer to waterways like lakes, swamps, the ocean and rivers. Their patterning consists of darker bands, in olive, yellow, orange-brown, or jet-black, and the underside of the snake is light yellow or orange. The tiger snake venom is highly toxic. They are tolerant of lower temperatures, so they are often seen out earlier than the Dugite. When threatened they will act aggressively, flattening their body and raising their heads in a classic pre- strike stance. Look out!
What to look out for during our walkies?
If I am bitten by a snake, the most common symptom is weak muscles. I may have difficulty standing or walking on all 4 legs, my pupils may become paralysed and be dilated, and eventually my respiratory muscles may become so weak that I can’t breathe.
What should you do?
If you suspect that your Pet gets a snake bite, keep your pet calm. Wash the wound and then apply a pressure dressing if you know where the bite occurred. Next, ring the Hospital or the nearest emergency centre to let them know you are coming. Carry them to the car and get them to the Vet as soon as possible. Early in the season, bites are extremely toxic, so every minute counts.
Can they be treated?
Treatment is based on the severity of the clinical signs with a form of anti-venom to counteract the effects of the venom. Unfortunately,anti-venom is expensive and some dogs may need multiple doses, based on their weight. Bitten dogs also require other supportive measures, like intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy, or even drugs for shock.
Can bites be prevented?
You can reduce the risk of a snake bite by staying clear of common snake areas like around swamps, overgrown bush or long grass. If you are out on a walk, keep your Dog on the lead so that you can keep a careful eye on where they are going. At home, you can remove long grass, wood-stacks or sheets of tin, etc on the ground where they might like to hide.
Bees and Wasps
Bee stings or wasp stings can be some of the most common things we treat during spring. As soon as the sun is shining, the bees get out and about doing their thing. And, dogs and cats just seem mesmerised by their bumbling behaviour and buzzing noise!
For a lot of patients, they might not make it obvious they have even been bitten because they aren’t very sensitive. Perhaps they might have a little limp or rub or lick at the spot where the bite is. For some, they might have a really obvious local reaction, with redness, swelling and even a limp on a bitten foot or a large swelling if bitten around the face. Finally, some can go into a form of Anaphylactic shock and this is serious, they might vomit, collapse or have a weak pulse.
What can you do at home?
If the sting is minor, then sometimes simply applying an ice block wrapped in a towel may denature the toxin, reduce any inflammation or swelling and the symptoms may go away in 10-20 minutes.
When should I go to the Vet?
Any time the symptoms escalate, with vomiting, signs of weakness or distress, then your Pet probably needs to see a Vet. They may give them some anti-inflammatory or some anti-histamine to quickly reduce symptoms.
Can Stings be prevented?
Often dogs that get bitten a few times seem to hunt down bees or wasps and often seem to get bitten on purpose! Wearing boots when out at the park filled with pollen and flowers might help. For dogs that get severe reactions, no true prevention exists, but if the signs are life-threatening, then desensitisation is available at the Specialist Centre.
Woofs, Thanks to Wembley Vet, take care, KoKo