Ice, the Pitbull who survived a boomslang bite

The Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park is once again responsible for saving a dog bitten by a boomslang many kilometres away.

Ice, a five-year-old Pitbull was bitten by a boomslang on a farm in Buffelspoort last Thursday night. The dog’s owners did not realise the dog had been bitten until the following morning when he had a severely swollen leg. He was rushed to the Pet Passion Animal Care clinic in Buffelsport where veterinarians could diagnose a boomslang bite according to the symptoms.
“Ice’s leg was so swollen that there seemed to be no skin left to stretch. We do not keep the anti-venom and we contacted the Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park who immediately told us to come and get some,” said Carin Moffatt, practice manager at Pet Passion. About eight hours after Ice received the anti-venom, the swelling has gone down and the next morning he was “dog again”. He went back home on Saturday.
According to Jason Seale of the Hartbeespoort Snake and Animal Park, very few boomslang bites occur in South Africa. “It is not a commonly encountered snake as they are mostly found in trees and bushes, and if given the opportunity, they will flee. The boomslang bites I have encountered happened because people tried to catch the snake or it was attacked by a dog. Boomslang has the most toxic venom of all snakes in South Africa. It attacks the blood clotting function of the body, causing internal and external bleeding which can lead to a stroke if bleeding occurs in the brain,” he said.
Seale warns that snakes are currently very active and people should be vigilant and respect the snakes. “Five snake bites were reported to the park last week. Watch where you walk and when encountering a snake, remove pets and get away from the snake. If bitten, remain calm and seek medical attention immediately at the closest hospital.”

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