With the weather warming up and snakes becoming more active, local vets are calling on pet owners to be cautious.
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Angela van der Riet and Kirra Woodhead from Orana Veterinary Services in Dubbo said their clinic has already treated a number of pets for snake bite since the beginning of spring.
"Snakes after hibernation, the period that we're in at the moment, that's when they're at their most aggressive and most venomous," Ms van der Riet, clinical coordinator, told the Daily Liberal.
The clinic's managing director Rob Ingram said over the long weekend alone they saw six dogs that were bitten by snakes.
All outdoor pets are at risk of snake bite but pets on farms and larger properties are especially susceptible, Ms Woodhead said, as the presence of mice can attract snakes to feed.
"Dubbo being a rural area, you have your farms and your big plots of land that are prime feeding ground, especially with mice around ... that encourages the snakes to come in," she said.
"Of the pets we had this weekend, one was a domestic dog that had gone for a walk and the other two were pretty much that scenario," Ms van der Riet said.
People who walk their dogs in areas with long grass or large open fields should also be mindful of increased snake activity, especially when the dog is off lead, Ms Woodhead said.
"A big thing we see is when people go and take dogs off leash for a walk down around the river," she said.
"[Snakes] love when coming up for some water during the day and sunbathing in the long grass. And your dog is just going for a nice walk, running in the long grass ... and sometimes you don't realise it has been bitten unfortunately."
Often when a pet is bitten by a snake the bite will not be visible, however sometimes localised swelling can be seen around the bite location.
Some signs an animal has been bitten by a snake include lethargy, seizing, difficulty breathing, weak or wobbly back legs, collapsing, paralysis, vomiting or increased salivation and bloody urine.
"If you see a snake near your dog, probably just take it into the vet to be safe. The sooner you hand them in, the better it is and the cheaper it will be," Ms van der Riet said.
"The treatment costs are per vial - an hour can be the difference between one vial of antivenom working or two vials working," Ms Woodhead said.
"And snake venom is a neurotoxin so the sooner you get the treatment into them, the sooner it works. After a period of time it will be too late for that neurotoxin to have the greatest effect."
As for cats, Ms van der Riet said the best way to keep them safe is to keep them inside.
"Ideally with any cat, with cats being more feral than what dogs are, we should really try to keep them contained," she said.
"When we start looking at the council and how many feral cats we unfortunately have to euthanise because there's just so many of them, we're talking about 20 cats a week.
"So, really, keeping your cats contained is a big thing, not even with the snakes."
If your pet is bitten by a snake, Ms van der Riet said to call your vet and let them know you are coming in so they can be prepared. She said taking a photo of the snake -if possible - can help for identification but the clinic can do blood tests to figure it out.
Her final message? "Be nice to your vet, please."
"[Antivenom] isn't cheap to buy and what we charge is basically what it costs us to buy it ... anywhere from $1000 to $1400," she said.
"If a human is bitten by a snake, you're probably gonna go to hospital and have no charge, because you're covered by something called a Medicare rebate. Whereas for us, we get absolutely nothing.
"So be nice to staff, don't abuse us. It's not our fault that we don't have Medicare."
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