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Snakebites on dogs

Snake venom can be extremely dangerous to dogs. Find out what to do if your dog has been bitten by a snake and symptoms to look out for.

Snakebites in paws and legs can be life-threatening, see a veterinarian immediately if suspected.

Symptoms of snakebites in dogs

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

Snakebites on your dogs are not always obvious at first, but after a while the dog gets tired and prefers to lie down. After an hour or so, the bitten body part swells. If the bite has hit the nose or the lips, the face can swell up very strongly and reaches a maximum after one to two days. The lips can become a couple of centimetres thick and the swelling can descend to the neck. If the bite touches a paw, it swells up and the swelling spreads up the leg. Go to a vet as soon as possible.

If a snakebite is detected

A viper bite can, in addition to local swelling and pain, cause general effects with a deterioration of blood circulation. It can also cause low blood pressure, heart rhythm disturbances, increased tendency to bleed and damage to internal organs. Although the face can swell up considerably, breathing difficulties are not common.

How to treat snake bites on dogs

  • Keep the dog still, especially if the bite is on paws or legs
  • Get in touch with a vet as soon as possible
  • The vet will give the dog painkillers. Drops are given to maintain normal blood circulation. Blood samples are taken and the heart is examined. In some cases, the dog may need antidote (snake serum).
  • The dog usually recovers with supportive treatment and rest.

Common with a bite on the nose

Most dogs that get bitten on the nose recover. The mildest cases of snakebite lead to swelling at the bite, but more severe cases can lead to general symptoms and internal damage. The degree of damage depends on how much venom is injected.

Carry a dog that has been bitten by a snake

When the dog moves, the contractions of the muscles contribute to the spread of the poison. If possible, carry the dog if it has been bitten by a snake, alternatively walk calmly and slowly. See a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Frequently asked questions about snake bites

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