Veterinarians see uptick in pets bitten by poisonous snakes

BRENTWOOD, Tenn., (Aug. 28, 2014) – Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospitals in Nashville are encouraging pet owners to be on the lookout for venomous snakes and to know what to do if their pet is bitten.

In the past few weeks, emergency doctors and specialists from BluePearl in Brentwood have seen several snake bites, with three occurring in just the last 10 days.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to treating snakebites,” said Dr. Carly Waugh, a board-certified specialist in small animal internal medicine. “Recognizing the signs and symptoms and getting your pet to a veterinarian who has access to antivenin can mean the difference between life and death.”

According to Waugh, signs to look for include bruising, collapse, nausea, pain and swelling. Dogs will often be bitten on the nose, while cats are typically struck on their paws or legs. The injury site can look as harmless as an insect bite or sting.

Snakes that pose the greatest danger to pets in Middle Tennessee include copperheads, rattlesnakes and water moccasins, which are often found in rural, wooded areas and near water.

According to Waugh, baby and adolescent snakes often inflict the worst damage because they haven’t learned to control how much venom they discharge.

“Most importantly, anytime you notice your pet is not acting well, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible,” Waugh said.

About BluePearl Veterinary Partners
BluePearl Veterinary Partners employs more than 1,700 people including more than 450 veterinarians. BluePearl hospitals offer referral-only, specialty care services and most offer 24-hour emergency care. BluePearl does not provide primary care. The company is one of the world’s principal providers of approved veterinary residency and internship programs. BluePearl also participates in clinical trials that investigate the effectiveness of new veterinary drugs and treatments, providing pet families access to cutting-edge medicine that is not yet commercially available. BluePearl is headquartered in Tampa, Fla.