Buster’s family came home about 9.30pm to find he had vomited, but otherwise seemed well. A couple of hours later the family were wakened to find Buster had collapsed and leaking dark reddish urine. Alarmed, they drove straight to the hospital and carried him in.
The emergency vets were quite suspicious of snake bite because he was collapsed and on examination had abnormal neurological reflexes. These included: the pupils of his eyes were dilated, he couldn’t blink (called the menace reflex) and he couldn’t swallow. An absence of swallowing or the gag reflex is common in pets that have been bitten.
When they tested his blood clotting time it was 66 seconds. The normal clotting time on the hospitals blood machine is 17 seconds. The CK (muscle enzyme) level was slightly elevated (and continued to rise over the next couple of days). Both these results suggested snakebite.
Thankfully, Buster responded rapidly to two vials of combined tiger and brown snake antivenene. There are specific snake identifying test buts results are variable and it takes time to run. He stayed in hospital for a couple of days. This was to provide intravenous fluids to protect his kidneys from getting long term damage. The snakes toxin cause muscles to leak protein (myoglobin) which is toxic to the kidneys.
A dead tiger snake was found when Busters family got home.
Luckily for Buster the reaction to the snake bite happened really slowly. This is unusual for a tiger snake bite. In his favour was the fact that he is a bigger dog. Also maybe less moving around and the amount of envenomation all are contributing factors to the severity of the reaction.