One Sunday in January, one of our nurses contacted the surgery because they had found their dogs with a dead brown snake. Duke’s owners noticed some blood in his mouth, but otherwise he seemed happy and well. Duke (and his owners other dogs) were brought in to the clinic for a blood clotting test. In cases of brown snake envenomation, the venom makes the body use up all their clotting factors, meaning there are none left to clot the blood. So when the blood clotting test is performed, the blood does not clot in the special tube as it would for a normal happy healthy patient. In Dukes case, his blood did not clot, which confirmed the suspicion that he had been bitten by the snake.
Duke was placed on an intravenous drip to help support his body and organs, and he was given a vial of polyvalent antivenin. Polyvalent antivenin has the advantage that it can treat snake bites for brown snakes, tiger snakes, and some other less venomous species. By midnight Dukes blood still would not clot, so he was given another vial of straight brown snake antivenin. Fortunately this was an adequate dose of antivenin and Duke fortunately recovered un-eventfully.
Duke has been very brave through his ordeal and behaved well for his blood tests and treatment. Hopefully he has learnt to stay away from snakes in the future!