Let’s face it, Great Danes are goofy, curious, and friendly animals; snakes, not so much. Great Danes, like most canines, tend to investigate the world nose-first and that is (believe it or not) where most snake bites occur in canines.
Fortunately, most snake bites are non-venomous and larger animals tend to fare better when envenomated simply due to their body mass. Regardless, even non-venomous snake bites can result in serious health complications for your furry family member. If you suspect your Dane was bitten by a snake, here are a few important steps to follow:
- Stay Calm – Snake venom always courses through the bloodstream and the more active the victim, the more quickly the venom disseminates. Soothe your Dane with a calm voice and comfort. Even a non-venomous bite can cause great pain and swelling. It is vital that you do your best to remain calm and to reassure your Dane that everything will be O.K. If possible, carry your Dane to the car as opposed to letting them walk or run.
- Contact Your Vet – Immediately make arrangements for your Dane to be seen by a vet. If your regular vet is unavailable, call an emergency veterinarian clinic. Again, even if your Dane was bitten by a non-venomous snake, there may still be life-threatening complications (especially if there is significant swelling involved). Contacting your vet in these instances is always your best course of action.
- Assess The Wound – One of the major indicators of a venomous snake bite is swelling around the wound site. If your Dane is exhibiting swelling, look toward the center of the swollen area in an effort to identify the wound. Viper bites can be identified by two pronounced puncture wounds near the center of the swollen area and in the case of a large snake, obvious bleeding. Bear in mind, that younger vipers may also inject venom and often bite more aggressively. These bites may look less threatening but can be deadly.
- Do Not Attempt Home Remedies – While applying a tourniquet may make you feel like you are helping your Dane, the reality is that you may be doing more harm than good. Also, do not apply ice to the affected area or indiscriminately prescribe Benedryl or anti-inflammatory medications. Concentrate on remaining calm and getting your Dane to the vet. NOTE: IF YOUR DANE HAS SIGNIFICANT SWELLING AROUND THE NECK OR CHEST AND IS HAVING DIFFICULTY BREATHING, GET YOUR VET ON THE PHONE AND DESCRIBE THE SITUATION ACCURATELY AND CALMLY.
- Keep The Affected Area At Or Below The Heart – If your Dane was bitten by a venomous snake, you should avoid allowing the venom to reach the heart. If your Dane was bitten on the muzzle (a common scenario), keep the head low or flip her onto her back. If your Dane was bitten on the leg, keep the leg below the heart. As was stated earlier, keep your Dane calm.
- Do Not Chase Or Try To Catch A Snake! – If you see the snake bite your Dane and can identify it, that may be helpful to your veterinarian. However, putting yourself in a potentially life-threatening situation in an effort to identify or kill a snake is taking precious time away from your Dane’s course of treatment.