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Thread: Snake Season ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia

    Default Snake Season ?

    HI Steve,
    I saw my first snake yesterday, basking in the sun on the bush land i walk on with Bernie, a 11 month old GSD.

    Our garden is also bush like, and we get them at home too.

    Is there a way to train the dog not to go near the snake?

    Before Bernie, we had a rottie and a GSD, they would take out snakes and id find the remains.

    Another question?
    As black anti venom is used for the king browns around here, can i ask the vet for a shot to take bush walking? As we go for hours, and he'd be dead by the time i got to a vet. Im a nurse, not a vetinary nurse. But wondered if you could have this, like my mum has a shot she carries for bee stings as she goes into anaphylaxis.

    Ive made myself fully aware of the fist aid for snake bite, but seriously, it would take over 3 hrs to get to a vet. That's means, he's unlikely to survive.

    I dont want to lose my dog to a snake bite.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Moggill, Queensland


    I taught my dog not to go near snakes by spraying him in the face with a water bottle whenever he approaches one (I own snakes, so getting animals isn't hard. You could simply use a rubber one if you don't have friends nearby that own them).

    This has worked fairly well for me, although he will chase the ones that move fast. He simply sits back and barks at them though.

    No, you will not be able to carry antivenom around with you. Your mum carries an epipen, which is used to inject adrenaline- this addresses the anaphylaxis your mum will experience if she's stung by a bee. Antivenom addresses the venom itself, and has a very short self-life, is very very expensive, and can cause anaphylaxis itself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Gippsland, Victoria


    Unfortunately, antivenin/ antivenene/ antivenom is very costly for dogs. For humans it is free. Go Figure. The short shelf-life (and requirement for refrigeration?) makes it unsitable for carrying in a first-aide pack.

    Saw some video of Steve Austin recently- a doco on dogs hunting feral cats overseas- and they were training the dog to avoid snakes using remote trainers. I know some may think RT's are cruel and inhumane... I'm only suggesting it becasue it could also be better than loosing Bernie to snakebite... an option :-)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Kurrajong / Hawkesbury


    If your dog has prey drive it is at risk of being bitten by a snake, I snake proof my dogs when they are about a year old.

    Most prey driven dogs will engage the snake and may get bitten.

    One of the dogs I grew up with as a kid was Black Lab, he too would hunt them, as he got older he got bitten a few times, near sent my parents broke in vet bills.

    In the end he was too old to fight off the venom and the vet couldnt save him. Young enough to hunt them though lol...

    I help people with their dogs by training snake proofing, I too train it with a remote collar. Steve (Austin) and I do similar.

    I find that dogs with high prey drive and or a history of snake chasing arent too put off by a water spray and need something more aversive.

    Snake proofing is good for the dog and the snakes.

    They are coming out now with the sun, they do little in the winter.

    If your dog gets bit by a snake, isolate the area if its a limb and keep the dog quiet.

    Unf if your far from a vet and its a decent strike, your dog has little chance of survival your right but anti venom doesnt travel too well or last long, so few people carry it with them and it can cause complications when administered as mentioned.

    Generally if yor dog will not engage the snake, the snake will not engage the dog in my experience unless you run over it or aggravate it, but I have been faced with a few browns that broke that rule...

    They say it is going to be a bad Flea, Tick and Snake season this summer, I guess that just means hot.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

  5. #5

    Default King Browns?

    Bernie, if you are in Melbourne or Victoria, then you can forget King Browns.
    They aren't in this state!
    The only deadlies in Melbourne are Browns, Tigers and Copperheads, with Browns in the north and west only, the others are everywhere.
    The advice re dog/snake proofing and antivenom above is correct.
    In the context of dogs, most bites that kill the dogs actually occur when the owner is NOT about.
    That is "snake come into yard, dog attack snake, dog get bit".
    To that extent, if living in a snake prone area, I suggest you keep your yard (and ajoining properties) free of garbage, wood on ground and the like.
    What we call "hard cover".
    We actually do snake training courses for people in terms of handling snakes and have done similar with people and their dogs for the purposes of snake-proofing the dogs.
    However the cost of the latter, using real snakes and dogs, is generally prohibitive as it requires several sessions and cost per hour session is usually about $300 (either one on one or in groups).
    As to why it is costly is a long story, but in our case the main reason are the onerous demands placed on us by the regulatory authorities and the arising "compliance" costs, the majority of which are totally unneccessary.
    All the best
    Last edited by puggerup; 10-01-2010 at 08:20 PM. Reason: guidelines

  6. #6


    I did reply to this one but it seems to have got lost in the general forum crashing of the last few days.

    Bernie, if you're looking for something that may help with a snakebite you can consider injectable victamin C. It needs to be refrigerated but you could carry it with you on walks. It doesn't have the risk of anaphylaxisis that antivenom has, and is non species specific. It is available through good produce shops or equine/greyhound supply places online. You can't overodose on it as it is a water based vitamin and any excess is excreted safely through the kidneys and urine.

    It is delivered intramuscularly so you need to know how to give it. It's a thick liquid that is painful to inject (you know they're feeling better if they start to object!!) and can cause an abscess if it goes under the skin. Small price if it saves them though!

    Look it up online. Some vets use it for many things. You will also find very good information about it in animal care books authored by Pat Coleby.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    Vitamin C IM shots are being suggested. What for? i shall have to look up. Presumably this is used to reduce the lethality of the venom in some way, i'll go searching for info. If you have a link to info regarding the science behind the suggestion, as this is not some scenario where homeopathy is going to be trusted.

    Aversion training with either water pistol, or remote collar.

    I have never used a water pistol on him, and can buy plastic snake to teach this. I wonder if this would be a new experience, as in never been sprayed before, if i could get timing right, it could work. So im going to try this first.

    My remote collar is broken and so do not have access to one. However, in past, i found the amount of hair on a GSD long haired, prevents good contact. I had to shave the dogs neck to get a good contact.
    Is there another way, as i like his maine. I prefer a live dog, so will chop it if req though.

    And no king browns in Victoria. Well, ive a anecdote for you. I once consulted a snake person in qld, to try to identify a snake in our bin. It looked like a tree snake, but also like a green snake. I couldnt tell being a pom. I called the guy, this was a hybrid, the two species are breeding up there. So now you have the harmless tree snake, that can jump, but is now venomous too. So never say never.
    Snakes to me, are like HIV, treat everyone like they have it, and you'll be a lot safer.

  8. #8

    Default Hybrid snakes, and never say never

    Bernie, thanks for your post and I hope I don't come across here as a know all, or negative or whatever.
    But here goes...
    In terms of known natural distribution (pre-white settlement) it is safe to say that there are no King Brown snakes in Victoria.
    That is cut and dry.
    That is easily verified by several means, which I won't go into here, but is spelt out in detail in a series of papers I have published in Australasian journal of herpetology and elsewhere.
    That said, there is nothing to stop "vagrant" snakes, as in ones carted about by people and let loose in foreign areas, as in escaped pets, snakes inadvertently shipped in pallets of goods and so on.
    King Browns are NOT common vagrants, but tree snakes and tree pythons are common vagrants.
    By the way, a lay person would have no hope of telling the difference between either of these species if they saw one moving in a paddock.
    As for your story about snakes hybridising, well, non-venomous tree snakes and the venomous ones won't, it's that simple.
    Your so-called snake expert telling you about hybrid snakes may have got wires crossed somewhere as well.
    As a rule, different species do not cross breed. That's why they are different species.
    Only the closest and most similar of "species" may occasionally cross breed and under the rarest of circumstances, the details of which I won't go into here.
    In the context of Qld, in 1998, I described a new genus and species of snake called "Pailsus pailsi", otherwise known as the False King Brown or Pygmy King Brown snake, which physically is like a hybrid between the King Brown and Eastern Brown, but in fact not related to either (closest to the King Browns and of primitive stock).
    Many news reports at the time erroneously stated that it was a hybrid between the two, but it was not.
    There are still less than ten individuals of that species known to science, (as in verifed specimens lodged with Museums or similar) with the majority of wild snakes now killed by the Cane Toads, which moved through their habitat in West Qld, in the 1980's.
    In terms of the other posts, while I have snake expertise, I have none as a Biochemist, save for what I got taught as an undergraduate at Uni, and can't comment on the veracity of Vitimin C treatment for bites.
    The suppliers of venoms and anti-venoms do however have a vested interest in denying and opposing by all means alternatives to the standard use of anti-venoms as the government subsidies and income produced by those in the manufacture chain is huge.
    When the opportunity came along to reduce by up to half the demand for anti-venom, through use of surgically devenomized snakes, the venom suppliers went ape and sought a ban on devenomizing snakes in order to protect the millions they make from venom supply, even though their processes of tormenting and milking snakes for venom (ultimately killing many prematurely) is extremely cruel to the snakes.
    Best advice in terms of snakes and bites however is avoiding snakebites is best.
    All the best

  9. #9


    Google is your friend Bernie. Vitamin C is not a hoemeopathic remedy. It fuels the immune system, and may just give it enough oomph to fight whatever toxin is in the body at the time. The immune system can do amazing things when it has fuel to run on...

    Got your reading glasses?


    Pat Coleby on Vitamin C Treatment for SNAKE BITES

    Early in 1930, an American, Dr Klenner, did much research on the use of Vitamin C on humans. In turn a Californian Vet, Dr Wendell Bellfield, carried on the good work with impressive results on all sorts of dog ailments that are generally considered incurable or fatal. Today, in USA, there are now a significant number if Vets practicing alternative Medicine such as this.
    After studying the literature, I decided that I really had nothing to lose trying Vitamin C on my own farm animals. The first one was a pony, almost moribund, whose blood was later diagnosed as having the largest amount of Tiger Snake venom the Vet had ever seen in an animal. Within 24 hours of being unable to move, and also having considerable difficulty in breathing due to pneumonia, the pony was grazing happily in its owners garden, apparently quite healthy. I only had one 30ml bottle of Vitamin C, half of what I would have liked, so I put half of the bottle into each side of the neck by intramuscular injection.
    After that we treated sundry dogs, two cats and several goats including a stud buck. All recovered. A very valuable Alpaca which was being watched by its owner from her kitchen window went down to the dam to examine something. The owner, horrified, watched a large snake rise up and strike it on the nose - the worst place - and thanked her lucky stars the Vitamin C was in the fridge - not still on the shopping list. Rushing out with only 15 mls in the syringe - she injected the Alpaca before any symptoms arose. The snake had looked like a brown or a tiger, the result - happy ending.
    The great advantage of Vitamin C is that anaphylaxis does not occur and the variety of snake does not matter. Vitamin C is cheap, easy to store and taking it on a hunting trip is no problem. All you need is a 20 ml syringe, some largish needles - say No 18 - and the bottle of Vitamin C. It can all be carried in a small wallet on ones belt. In between times it should be kept in the fridge. Although the stuff can be carried in Summer without deteriorating, I suggest to hunters that they get a fresh supply each Spring just to be on the safe side.
    After much reading of printouts of Bellfield's and other literature, many supplied by Dr Glen Dettman, a retired pathologist who lives near Melbourne, I have tried Vitamin C on many situations. A dog in a tick coma, spider bites, dogs with Parvo, Tetanus following a terrible injury from a car, and in cases of shock - all with unfailing success.
    Vitamin C can be used as crushed tablets or powder straight into the mouth in cases of sickness. From my own experience, rubbing the powder into a redback spider bite took the pain (which is incredible) our within seconds. I followed it up with 10 grams by mouth. The spread of the poison in my arm stopped and I was able to resume work within a few minutes.
    The first goat I treated with Vitamin C was given a teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (about 5 grams) every half hour for two hours, like the Alpaca, he was bitten right on the nose as I later found out. He recovered perfectly well. That was in the days before the injectable supplies were available. 50 ml bottles of Vitamin C can be obtained from some Chemists, most fodder or pet stores. Make sure the brand is 2 mls per gram and not 4 otherwise you need twice as much at twice the cost. I mentioned the size of the needles as 18 or thereabouts because the stuff can be slightly glutinous and speed is generally all important on the occasions when it is needed.
    Snake venom affects the nervous system which slows down until natural functions cease and death occurs. A painful way to die. It can cause instant death but this is most unusual and I have never seen it. When a dog has been bitten, its eyes will soon appear to look all black. That is the pupils have relaxed and dilated. Since snake bite can - and usually does - occur unwitnessed, if your dog slows down and becomes lethargic or distressed, do look at the eyes at once and even if they do not show much sign get on with the injection. If by chance the fang marks are detected, (it is usually damp around the bite) rub in Vit C. Even a chewed up tablet will work. But do not waste time looking for the marks. They often only show up a few days later when the hair falls away around them.
    Dogs of 30 to 50 kg will require about 10 - 15 mls* by intramuscular injection in the side of the neck. It was taught by the teaching Vet at the Veterinary College to avoid doing injections in the back legs because it is too easy to damage vital nerves there. Three quarters to 1 cm penetration is needed, and, if in doubt, get it under the skin anyway. You can repeat the treatment without risk. Vitamin C overdose results in nothing worse than diarrhoea, and anaphylaxis cannot occur. However when the dog is really sick it will allow you to do the injecting (which can sting in small animals) without objecting. If it starts to make a fuss you know that it is feeling much better, and the subsequent doses should be given as powder in the mouth. It is a good idea to give two or three backups just to make sure all the venom has been detoxified.

    Pat Coleby
    (Pat is a farmer who writes books on animal care and lectures widely on the subject as well as being a consultant.) Originally published in the Australian Shooters Journal.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    thankyou so much Nattylou,
    (another snake spotted yesterday, this was a tiger snake.)
    The anecdotal evidence of "i had 1 x 30ml bottle of Vit C, half the amount i would of liked to have, but gave that". 30mls = how much vitamin C? I would need to know the strength, ie 500mg in how many mls, to calculate the dose correctly.
    If i am reading this right, then you can disolve VitC crushed tablets, but i would need the dose size. I have dilutent to mix the powder with (sterile water for IM injections, plus needle/syringe/fliter). Does anyone know the dose of Vit C you give a 34kg GSD for snake bite?

    Thankyou for the info on the snakes, snakeman, blinded a tad with my lack of knowledge, but "dont touch" ltd knowledge has gotten me past a few safely.

    So this w/e, i'll be teaching snake avoidance to my dog with water spray and plastic snake, and if i can get a dose of VitC either from here, or vet, i can then make a preparation up to keep in fridge, and grab during bush walks.

    I hate snakes. Goddamn australia sometimes!

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