By Sharnye Farrell
As summer approaches, pet owners in Perth are being urged to take precautions to prevent their animals being bitten by snakes.
The Murdoch Pet Emergency Centre treated around 50 domestic animals for snakebite last year and says people can put in place a range of measures to minimise the risk of an attack.
Dr Jill Griffiths, veterinary supervisor at the emergency centre, suggests pet owners keep their gardens trimmed and tidy, and not allow dogs to roam off leads through bush, dunes, ponds or waterways.
Dr Griffiths says at this time of year snakes are still sluggish from winter hibernation and are more likely to bite if they’re harassed by a cat or dog.
“If we can give adequate antivenom and we treat pets soon enough, we have a very high success rate with treating snakebite,” said Dr Griffiths.
Dr Griffiths says common signs of snakebite include weakness, vomiting, excess salivation and a lack of coordination.
Rachel Coughlan, from the Perth Hills region, has experienced firsthand the emotional trauma of losing a pet to snakebite.
Her puppy Shep initially showed no signs of having been bitten but later died.
“With our pets now, we are a lot more wary about the area they run around in. We tend to keep it without long grass and lots of plants. We have also noticed the different ways our pets act if there is danger around,” said Rachel.
Pet owners are advised take their pets to a veterinary clinic for treatment as soon as symptoms are evident and it is suggested they not attempt to catch the snake.
People who see snakes in urban areas are advised to report the sighting to their local council authority or snake removal service.
Murdoch Pet Emergency Centre is a 24 hour clinic providing emergency medicine, care and advice.