Tiger snake poisoning

From Dog
Tiger snake[1]

Snake-bite envenomation by Tiger snakes (Notechis scutatus) is relatively common.

This snake, which is endemic in eastern Australia, is highly venomous and may cause sudden deaths following a single bite.

The venom of these snakes induces rapid coagulopathies with DIC a common complication, targeting organs such as the lung, kidneys and muscle[2].

Clinical symptoms, which are similar to the brown snake[3] but not the black snake, include acute onset neurological disease such as ataxia and collapse as well as hypotension and bradycardia. Death is usually due to respiratory failure[4].

Blood tests usually reveal marked leucopenia and thrombocytopenia, together with prolonged prothrombin and partial thromboplastin times as well as depletion of serum fibrinogen[5].

Complications include megaesophagus[6], which may require special attention post-recovery.

Treatment usually requires intravenous fluids, antivenom and broad-spectrum anitmicrobials.

References

  1. Wikipedia.org
  2. Jacoby-Alner TE et al (2011) Histopathological analysis and in situ localisation of Australian tiger snake venom in two clinically envenomed domestic animals. Toxicon 58(4):304-314
  3. Heller J et al (2005) Snake envenomation in dogs in New South Wales. Aust Vet J 83(5):286-292
  4. Tibballs J (1998) The cardiovascular, coagulation and haematological effects of tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) venom. Anaesth Intensive Care 26(5):529-535
  5. Tibballs J (1998) The cardiovascular, coagulation and haematological effects of tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) prothrombin activator and investigation of release of vasoactive substances. Anaesth Intensive Care 26(5):536-547
  6. Hopper K et al (2001) Megaoesophagus in adult dogs secondary to Australian tiger snake envenomation. Aust Vet J 79(10):672-675