Prin, The snake assassin and regular patient at Familypet Vet Coromandel Valley near Blackwood
Hi, my name is Prin. I’m a 7 ½ year old miniature fox terrier cross. Since my rescue from a shelter in May 2014, I have been living on a small property in Clarendon in the Adelaide Hills close to Blackwood.
My owner probably thought she was adopting a “normal” dog, but this wasn’t the case. You see, I love snakes. I really looooove snakes. There is a part of me that thrives off the thrill of the chase, that seeks the excitement of the kill, that feels alive in the face of danger!…. As you will soon hear, it hasn’t all been fun though. Some would say surviving 4 snake encounters in 4 weeks makes me a bit of a hero, others, well it doesn’t matter what they think, I’m the one telling the story.
My first encounter was my most successful. This occurred on the first Sunday of October. 3 ½ foot brown snake…dead. Easy as that. Prin 1 / Snake 0
My second encounter (exactly 1 week later), didn’t go exactly to plan. You see, a dog that receives a venomous bite from a snake generally shows symptoms shortly afterwards, this is what lead me to believe that I was ok. However, the following day, Monday 13th, I started to show signs of weakness. A morning walk with my Mum ended in me being carried back to the car and a trip to Familypet Vet in Coromandel Valley close to Blackwood. I stayed in at the vets in hospital on fluid therapy overnight and when I still hadn’t shown any signs of improvement the following day, I was treated with brown snake antivenom. I slowly began to recover and was able to go home on the Thursday. Prin 1 / Snake 1
5 days after returning home, October 21st, another opportunity arose that I could not resist. This time a baby brown, it hit me hard and fast. I collapsed and was rushed down to Familypet Vet in Coromandel Valley close to Blackwood for the second time. Because this was my second time receiving brown snake antivenom, I was at greater risk of an allergic reaction. I was treated with adrenalin and antihistamine prior to the infusion to reduce this risk. Thankfully there was no bad reaction and I recovered quickly and was able to go home that evening. Prin 1 / Snake 2
I didn’t let this last effort affect my confidence. I was back on the playing field, ready to even the score. My last kill came on November 10th. This time a 2ft brown. My Mum didn’t take any chances, I was rushed down Familypet Vet for the 3rd time in a month. Luckily I showed no signs of envenomation and I was allowed to go home that same day under strict supervision.
Prin 2 / Snake 2
Not all so lucky
So you see, I have a little trouble resisting these slithering creatures. Thankfully I’ve been lucky and I am still alive to tell this tale. But not all dogs or cats are so lucky. If you see your pet with a snake, take notice of the snakes colour (without getting too close!) and head straight to your nearest veterinary clinic. It’s always best to phone the clinic to give them a heads up that you are on your way, this way they can prepare for your arrival. Generally dogs will show symptoms 30-60 minutes after the bite, however like me, this isn’t always the case. Cats can take longer to show symptoms, sometimes 24-36 hours later. They generally take longer to recover too, even when treated with the antivenom. Signs that your pet may have been bitten by a brown snake could include; weakness, collapse, sudden onset of vomiting or diarrhoea, breathlessness and unco-ordination. If you have any suspicions, it’s safest to have them monitored by veterinary staff, this way they can be treated as soon as signs show, increasing their chance of survival. At Familypet Vet they are very good at picking up early syptoms and treating them accordingly. Which is lucky for me.
Hopefully you won’t hear any more from me. I’m under very strict supervision when I’m outside now.
But I’m always watching… waiting for my opportunity.
Thank you for reading my story, Prin.