If your cat has been bitten by a viper, see a vet immediately!

Symptoms of snakebites on cats

  • Lameness
  • Swollen front paw
  • Pain, redness and/or bruising
  • Bite marks (may be difficult to detect due to the cat's fur)
  • Impaired general condition
  • Severe swelling (which may increase in the first 24 hours)
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea may occur

Since cats are usually outside by themselves, you often won't see if your cat is bitten by a snake. At first the cat may not notice the snakebite that much, but after a while the cat gets tired and prefers to lie down. After an hour or so, the bitten body part swells.

Why is it most dangerous for a cat to be bitten in the paw?

Most common, and most dangerous, is that cats get bitten on the front paws. The poison spreads more easily in the body when the cat supports, or walks, on the leg where the snakebite took place. The lameness and later swelling can be mistaken for an abscess or injury to the paw.

When the cat walks on the bitten leg, the contractions of the muscles together with the blood circulation contribute to the spread of the poison. It is therefore important to keep the cat still, not allow it to walk on its leg and, if possible, carry them. Seek out a vet as soon as possible.

What to do if a cat is bitten by a snake:

  • Keep the cat still, especially if the bite is in the paws
  • Seek contact with a veterinarian as soon as possible

Viper bites are dangerous for cats

A viper bite can, in addition to local swelling and pain, cause general effects with a deterioration of blood circulation, low blood pressure, heart rhythm disturbances, increased tendency to bleed and damage to internal organs. Cats usually recover with supportive care at the vet and rest.

How do you treat a snakebite?

Treatment depends on your cat's symptoms. The vet will usually give your cat painkillers. Drops are given to maintain normal blood circulation. Blood samples are taken and the heart is examined. In some cases, the cat may need antidote (snake serum). Cats usually recover with supportive care and rest.