Spring seems to have started early this year!! We've had some lovely warm days in August - perfect weather for the adult ticks to emerge and the snakes to start their breeding season!
As the weather warms up and the spring and summer rains come, it's time to get the lawnmower out to keep the grass short. Keeping the grass trimmed and the yard tidy will help with both tick and snake control. If the snakes don't have as many hiding spots they will try to avoid the area and the ticks will find it harder to snag onto any passing dogs or cats if there's nothing to climb up.
However, there is no guaranteed way of keeping snakes and ticks out of your backyard; even the most pristine of yards will have the occasional visitor in this area. So there is always a few unfortunate dogs and cats (not to mention livestock!) every season that get themselves into trouble. It is very important to remain vigilant: if you see your pet get bitten, or if your pet is showing any signs of envenomation, contact the surgery immediately.
Do not attempt to catch any live snakes, but you can pull a tick off if you find one and bring it in with you. If the snake is dead, you can put it in a thick bag and bring it in, being careful not to touch the fangs.
Symptoms to watch out for snake bite include:
- Collapse, especially if they have collapsed but now seem fine
- Weakness or paralysis, usually starting in the back legs
- Bleeding - from the mouth, in urine, in vomit or in faeces
- Swelling around the bite site that may or may not be painful
- Other, less specific symptoms can include: vomiting, dilated pupils, shallow or abnormal breathing, pale gums or gums with a purple tinge, jaundice (yellow tinge to the gums or whites of the eyes)
Symptoms to watch for tick paralysis include:
- Weakness or paralysis in the limbs
- Sometimes you may see a localised paralysis very early on, often around where the tick has attached. For instance if the tick has attached near an eye, the eyelids on that side may be drooping.
- Lethargy / dullness
- Drooling - especially if the tick has attached around the face or neck
- Swelling and inflammation around the tick attachment site
Some important points to remember:
Although the thought of you or your family (including the fur kids) being bitten by a snake is terrifying, snakes (and ticks) have an important role to play in our environment. Rather than trying to kill or capture a snake and running the risk of your or your family members becoming bitten or injured, it is far better to call a professional snake catcher.
We are here to help you protect and take care of your pets. So take advantage of our expertise and come in for a chat about the best flea and tick prevention protocols for your pets and situation.
If you are ever concerned or worried that your pet may have a tick or may have been bitten by a snake, please call us immediately. The earlier treatment can be started, the better the outcome is likely to be.