Coral Snakes

posted: by: Frank Metzler, DVM Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

The lesser known snake in the Four Points area is the coral snake, even though it has very distinct marking with a red, black, and yellow pattern.  When the red and yellow touch on the snake‚Äôs markings you can instantly know you or your dog is dealing with a venomous snake.

People commonly wonder with such bold marking why are coral snakes commonly overlooked in discussions when compared with rattlesnakes.  Although coral snake are venomous and can cause death by respiratory paralysis, bites are less likely to occur.  The reason for this is that coral snakes usually flee an altercation with a pet.  If they have to resort to biting a pet, usually less venom is injected compared to the rattlesnake with one bite.  Coral snakes usually need to chew on an animal to ensure enough venom is injected to kill.  The venom is quite potent and can cause paralysis, drooling, shortness of breath, inability to bark, diarrhea, convulsions, decreased reflexes, shock, and death to respiratory paralysis.  The start of some or all of these clinical signs can take up to 18 hours from the time of the bite.  Resolution of the signs can then take days to weeks.

If there is any chance of a bite by a coral snake the situation should be considered a medical emergency and the pet should be quickly taken to a veterinarian for immediate medical care.