Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Venomous animals of Australia

Contributor(s): Rosalind Dalefield, Dawn Ruben

Introduction

Print off the owner factsheet Venomous snake bite in dogs to give to your client.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Australian snake venoms contain a wide variety of toxic components including neurotoxins, lytic enzymes, coagulants, myolysins and cytotoxins. Neurotoxins are the most important components causing paralysis and respiratory failure.
  • Redback spider venom is primarily neurotoxic, interfering with neurotransmission and neuromuscular function.
  • Ixodes tick venom interferes with neuromuscular function. The mechanism is not fully understood.
  • Hymenoptera venoms are a complex mixture of toxic chemicals. Locally there is pain and swelling. Systemic effects may include cardiovascular and respiratory collapse. CNS depression, nerve dysfunction and severe gastrointestinal effects have been reported in the dog. Anaphylactic shock may also occur.

Timecourse

  • Onset of clinical signs of snake envenomation may be delayed 12 to 24 hours, so any dog suspected to have been bitten requires close observation.
  • Onset of clinical signs of Latrodectus envenomation occurs within 8 hours of the bite. In dogs, signs of restlessness may diminish withn 10-20 hours and signs of paralysis may then occur.
  • Tick paralysis Neurology: tick paralysis becomes apparent several days after the tick attaches, but progresses rapidly from first clinical signs to death.
  • Hymenoptera stings cause an immediate reaction.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Best P (1998) Snake Envenomation in Companion Animals. In: Clinical Toxicology, Proceedings 318, Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, University of Sydney.
  • FitzGerald M P (1998) Ixodes holocyclus poisoning. In: Clinical Toxicology, Proceedings 318, Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, University of Sydney.
  • Little P (1998) Spider Envenomation in Dogs and Cats. In: Clinical Toxicology, Proceedings 318, Post Graduate Foundation in Veterinary Science, University of Sydney.
  • Murray E Fowler (1992) Veterinary Zootoxicology. CRC Press.


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