South Coast Snake Catchers First Aid Advice
What to do in an emergency
|Calm and reassure patient||Wash the bite site, residual venom is important as medical staff will use it with a snake venom detection kit to identify species|
|Remove jewellery||Cut or suck the bite site|
|Apply broad pressure immobilisation bandage||Use a tourniquet, as this will cut off blood flow|
|Start at the bite site and then wrap as high and as low as possible up the bitten limb, leaving toes or fingers exposed||Remove the persons clothing|
|Tension should be the same as for a sprain||Allow patient to move or walk around|
|Mark bite site on top of bandage with a pen||Attempt to catch or kill the snake, as the snake is not required for any treatment|
|Splint the limb with rigid object (leg) or sling (arm) and immobilise patient|
If a bite occurs to the torso or head of a person a pressure pad or dressing should be applied directly on the bite site and held there firmly. The patient should remain as motionless as possible and wait until help arrives.
Every year in Australia it is estimated that approximately 3000 people are bitten by snakes, of which between 200-500 require hospital admission and anti-venom administration. Additionally only 1-3 deaths are attributed to snake bite annually in Australia. A common misconception about snakes is that they are extremely aggressive and will bite to kill as soon as given the opportunity. This couldn’t be further from the truth with snakes being very shy and cryptic animals that want to avoid confrontation at all costs. Snakes will also give warning cues to a perceived threat before bitting such as hissing, flattening the neck, coiling in a strike position and making several bluff strikes. Over 80% of snake bites occur directly from a person deliberately trying to catch or kill a snake.
First Aid For Pets
The instinctual behaviour and curiosity of our pets often lead to encounters with snakes, which can have unfortunate outcomes. Dogs are often bitten when trying to play with or kill snakes, while the predatory nature of cats see them bitten as they see snakes as prey.
|Signs & Symptoms In Pets:||If you suspect your pet has been bitten:|
|Weakness||Calm your pet|
|Swelling of bitten area||Minimise movement|
|Shaking or twitching of muscles||Pressure immobilisation bandage if bitten on limb|
|Excess saliva||Pressure pad if bitten on torso or head|
|Dilated pupils||Do not give food or water|
|Vomiting||Immediately go to a veterinary|
|Blood in urine|
|Collapse and paralysis|
Even if symptoms are not present or it is unsure whether your pet was indeed bitten, still attend a vet and take a seat in the waiting room. Advise vet staff of the possible snake bite situation. It is best for your animal to be close to immediate treatment should symptoms begin to manifest.