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How We Diagnose Snake Bite in Pets: Vet Emergency Melbourne

ImageImageHow We Diagnose Snake Bite in Pets

During summer we treat numerous pets with snake bite. It is a downside to living in Australia.  In the Melbourne region, the most common snakes are Tiger snakes.  Brown snake bites  also occur but are less frequent.  Tigers and Browns are very deadly.  Bites from these snakes may kill pets within minutes.  They have a mixture of toxins depending on the snake.  Toxins may include: Neuro Toxin (affects nervous system and causes paralysis);  Myotoxin (destroys muscles within the body); Coagulant Toxin (causes massive internal bleeding); Renal Toxin (affects kidney function).

To treat snake bite we use specific anti-venom therapy.  While some pets may survive without anti-venom, the length of recovery and complications including death is much greater for these pets.  Often these pets have had a minimal bite if they do survive.

Sometimes it is very easy to identify a snake bite – the pet was seen with a snake, starts vomiting and collapses.  Other times we need to run specific tests to identify a snake envenomation.

Within our 24Hr Pet Emergency Centres we keep a range of tests to identify snake bites.  We have specialised laboratory machines so that we can identify a snake bite quickly.  Sometimes there is not one test that we use, but a range of tests.

One of the most important tests is the Snake Venom Detection Kit (SVDK).  The SVDK was developed by CSL and is specific for all Australian venomous snakes.  The test looks for free venom in urine (or blood).  If you have been bitten, then within a short period of time, there will be free venom filtered into your urine by your kidneys.  The SVDK identifies this venom and tells us what type of snake has bitten the pet.  It means that we know that the pet has been bitten and what type of anti-venom should be used.

Some pets can play with a snake and not be envenomated.  The SVDK can be used to identify such pets and if the test is negative, we can avoid giving anti-venom which is very expensive.

We also use the SVDK to guide therapy.  If after receiving anti-venom, the test is still positive, it indicates that further anti-venom will benefit the pet.  If it is negative, then we know that giving further expensive anti-venom is not required.

We stock numerous vials of anti-venom as well as SVDK at both our Melbourne Animal Hospitals.  Vets now Open with immediate treatment for Snake Bite.  If you need further advice, please contact any of our 24Hr Pet Emergency Centres: 

Essendon 9379 0700

Point Cook 8368 7400


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Happy Easter from Animal Accident & Emergency


Pug happy easter

Animal Accident & Emergency would like to wish everyone a safe and a very Happy Easter

Over the Easter Holidays our 24 Hr Animal Hospitals will be available to help you at anytime. Our Emergency Vet Hospitals have Veterinarians on shift at all times. Both our centres are located so that they can service Melbourne and surrounding suburbs. Our Point Cook 24Hr Pet Emergency Centre services Geelong and the surf Coast.

If you have concerns or you are looking for a vet that is now open, please phone our Essendon Pet Emergency Centre on 9379 0700 or our Point Cook 24 Hr Emergency Animal Hospital on 8368 7400.

Our Vet Clinics are Always Open, We always CARE



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Several dog attacks present to our 24hr Animal Hospitals

Lexie fb pic

In the last week we have seen several dog attacks present to our 24hr animal hospitals.  While some of these patients have needed minimal treatment, we have had some very severe injuries.  One of the most remarkable patients that our ICU is treating is Lexie.  Lexie presented to us our Essendon 24 Hour Pet Emergency Centre almost a week ago.  Her owner had taken her to a local park which was an off-leash area.  No dogs were in the park so Lexie was allowed to run and play.  Within a minute she was attacked by two rogue  dogs.

The attack was horrific and left Lexie with major abdominal injuries.  Her body wall was damaged, allowing her intestines to exit (evisceration).  Lexie was left with her intestines hanging on the ground.  Lexie’s owner was beside herself as she does not drive and was left at the park with her injured pet.  Luckily a stranger stopped to help and brought her to our emergency centre in Essendon.  Immediately our emergency team raced to treat Lexie.  In the initial stage they worked to reduce her pain, treat shock and clean the intestines to prevent further damage.  Within hours, Lexie was in surgery having the area repaired and her abdomen explored for injuries.

It is now day 6 since surgery.  Lexie is such a brave girl and while she is still critical, she is making improvements each day.  The ICU team are with her all day and night making sure that her pain is minimal and her vitals are stable.  With Lexie, we have needed to perform intensive monitoring.  She has had special catheters placed (Central Venous Line) as well as feeding tubes and blood pressure monitoring.  Lexie is likely to have some further surgery as part of treatment.  We are hoping that she can continue to improve.

Lexie has been a very complex case for the ICU team.  They have had to deal with multiple issues to help Lexie recover.  None of this would have been possible without the dedication of Lexie’s Mum and the stranger who stoped to help.  All the team at Animal Accident & Emergency would like to thank you for allowing us the privilege to help Lexie.  Our thoughts are with you Lexie – Get Well! Please send some get well messages for Lexie and her Mum.


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