Close encounter with a red-bellied black snake

Max and Luca were rushed to Uni Vets Camden after a close encounter with a red-bellied black snake. Red-bellied blacks are an Australian elapid snake found in New South Wales that can cause a true medical emergency through their venomous bite. Toxins in the venom are responsible for these common signs:
- Shaking and tremors
- Weakness or paralysis
- Sudden collapse and apparent recovery
- Discoloured (red or black) urine
Without immediate treatment, animals bitten by a red-belly may deteriorate quickly and death may occur.

Luckily, Max and Luca’s owner was very quick to seek veterinary care. Their blood results were normal indicating they did not receive a venomous bite and did not require antivenom treatment. They stayed in the hospital to be closely monitored before returning home that evening. A close call for two lucky dogs!

If you ever suspect your dog or cat has been in contact with a snake, seek veterinary attention immediately and never attempt to catch or kill a snake as this is how most human snake bites occur!

Written by Francesca May, Final Year Veterinary Student, The University of Sydney.

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