In a recent survey, the response of 106 veterinary surgeons revealed that snake bite in domestic animals
in Australia is frequent, with an estimated 6200 cases reported annually. Bites were more prominent in rural (78%) than urban areas (22%) with brown, tiger and black snakes accounting for 76%, 113% and 6% of cases, respectively. Cats and dogs were the most frequently reported victims. Ninety-one percent of cats and 75% of dogs survived following the administration of antivenom whereas 66% of cats and 31% of dogs survived without antivenom. Overall, in 33% of cases antivenom was not used, and venom detection kits were used in only 1% of cases. A number of drugs were used in various combinations with or without antivenom and intravenous fluids in the treatment of animals with snake bite, but their role in reducing the severity of envenomations was not assessed.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Antivenom significantly improves the chances of survival of domestic animals bitten by snakes.