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As the weather warms up, veterinarians are preparing for snakebite season with an interactive map to record when and where pets are bitten. The SnakeMap Project aims to better predict, prevent, diagnose and treat snakebite in animals as well as people.
The SnakeMap Project is the first of its kind in Australia and was devised by emergency and critical care veterinarians Dr Manu Boller and Dr Kylie Kelers from the University of Melbourne's U-Vet animal hospital.
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Dr Boller teamed up with UVet Animal Hospital snakebite expert Dr Kylie Kelers, along with veterinary emergency and critical care experts from across Australia, epidemiologists and human snakebite experts.
The secure, electronic research database was established to allow veterinary hospitals across Australia to enter their snakebite data. The data can then be used as a medical resource for vets and, in the future, as a snakebite forecasting system for pet owners and the public anywhere in Australia.
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Data collected in the SnakeMap includes information on the bitten animal, the location and time of the snakebite—including exact coordinates of the bite if known, the treatment provided, including antivenom administration and breathing support, and the outcome of the treatment.
Dr Boller says that due to the exceedingly large number of highly venomous species in Australia, snake envenomation—is of unique significance in this country, both in human and veterinary medicine.
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"Because of their inquisitive nature, dogs and cats are at particular risk of being bitten, and will succumb to the rapidly acting potent snake venom if not treated promptly. Consequently, snakebite is a common emergency presentation of dogs and cats to veterinary clinics throughout Australia," says Dr Boller.
"With SnakeMap, we now have unprecedented insight into the epidemiological dynamics where the canine and feline snake envenomation events rise in early spring, peak in the...
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