Three to four bites a week: vet warns snakes still about in colder weather

WORD OF CAUTION: Orange Veterinary Hospital vet Genevieve Liebich, pictured with her dog Billie, had advised dog owners to be wary of snakes. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0716dcsnake1
WORD OF CAUTION: Orange Veterinary Hospital vet Genevieve Liebich, pictured with her dog Billie, had advised dog owners to be wary of snakes. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI 0716dcsnake1

IT might be winter, but a vet has warned pet owners snakes could still be active and dangerous.

With World Snake Day recognised on Sunday, Orange Veterinary Hospital vet Genevieve Liebich said the clinic treated three to four snake bites a week during the summer months, but snake catcher Jake Hansen had spotted a Highland Copperhead recently, in eight-degree weather. 

“Just because we’ve had a mild winter and people have had their wood piles built up since summer and they’re now using the wood for winter and potentially could be disturbing snakes,” she said.

“The best way to avoid snake bites is to clean your yard up and manage your wood pile and don’t leave leave things around that snakes can hide under.”

Dr Liebich said snake bite symptoms included drooling, enlarged pupils, vomiting, hind limb weakness and rapid breathing.

With death possible within half an hour, depending on the amount of venom injected, she said pets needed to see a vet as soon as possible and home remedies like ice packs, tourniquets and bleeding the wound only wasted precious time.