It's snake season and stories of sightings and bitings are popping up all over social media, with one trend terrifying dog owners across the country.
Soraya Ferrer posted a video online, urging dog owners to keep their pets away from snakes after almost losing her family's dog Luna to a tiger snake bite on Sunday because the vet ran out of antivenom.
Based in Geelong, Victoria, Ms Ferrer's dad heard Luna growling outside the front door. It was "rare for Luna to growl" so he went to investigate and saw that Luna had a tiger snake hanging out of her mouth.
"There is Luna, right in the front door, with a tiger snake in her mouth, shaking the hell out of it," Ms Ferrer said in one of her TikTok videos about the incident.
In shock, Ms Ferrer's parents immediately drove Luna to the emergency vet and on the way, she started going downhill fast.
"The amount of stress this has caused our family, I don’t want anyone else to experience it," Ms Ferrer updated Yahoo News Australia on Monday.
Antivenom is incredibly expensive and expires
On arriving at the vet hospital, Ms Ferrer's family were told there was only one vial of antivenom left after a busy day of dogs being bitten in the area. Luna needed two vials at least, so the vet told the family she might not make it.
"Antivenom expires so you don't usually have a lot on site and that day cases spiked," the Geelong vet confirmed to Yahoo News Australia. "But we have other emergency vets nearby who we ended up getting a vial off".
Ms Ferrer's sister asked her partner to pick up the second vial from an emergency vet in Werribee and drive it to them — which saved Luna's life.
"Some places where there are more snakes can go through more dogs than there are vials," Snake Catcher and Dog Snake Avoidance trainer, Mark Pelley, explained to Yahoo.
Only authorised people, including a vet, can carry antivenom and it costs around $2000 a vial, with many dogs needing at least two vials if bitten by a venomous snake — this does not include the other vet fees.
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Snake season increases the risk of dogs being bitten
It's normal to see increased snake sightings as the weather heats up, Mr Pelley recently told Yahoo — and the weather has truly being hot this spring.
"Snakes are always crawling through our gardens, and even more so in this hotter weather. If the dog notices it, they'll go over to investigate with their nose, they may even pick it up to play with it, and their nose will be super close to the snakes mouth which means they can then get bitten,"
Signs your dog has been bitten by a snake
RSPCA's knowledge base website says there are warning signs to look out for if you think your dog has been bitten by a venomous snake:
Sudden weakness followed by collapse
Shaking or twitching of the muscles and difficulty blinking
Loss of bladder and bowel control
Blood in urine.
What to do if you suspect your pet has been bitten
Pets left untreated have a much lower survival rate and many die so the main thing to do is to keep your pet calm and quiet and take them to a vet immediately, RSPCA says online.
If your vet is some distance away, if possible, you can apply a pressure bandage around the bite site to help slow the venom spreading to the heart.
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