The exotic cat will enjoy playing with a poisonous snake just as much as a non poisonous one, until he gets bitten back. Servals, Bobcats, and many of the smaller breeds are especially fond of chasing snakes. In the U.S. there are at least four poisonous snakes, as described below. If you suspect your cat has been bitten by a poisonous snake, and have seen signs such as laboured breathing, drooling, swelling at the site, pain, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, or paralysis, then treat as follows:
1. See Restraining chapter and restrain the cat.
2. Apply a tourniquet from a flat strip of cloth tightly enough to keep the venom from traveling back through the artery, but not as tight as you would for arterial bleeding.
3. The tourniquet should be loosened for 30 seconds, every thirty minutes.
4. Keep the cat as quiet as possible as struggling and getting exited will speed up the spread of venom.
5. Take to your Veterinarian as you will need a full course of antibiotics and bandaging. Steroids and Benedye, if given immediately are of great benefit. You will need an anti-venom from a human hospital, so send one person after that as you get the cat to your Veterinarian. The anti-venom is very expensive.
See the drawing for the differences in the appearance of poisonous and non poisonous snakes and their fang patterns. Briefly, if there are only horseshoe shaped teeth marks, no fang marks and the cat is not swelling or acting strange, then there is probably no call for alarm, but if there are fang punctures, swelling and any sign of distress then treat as above.
While snake proofing an enclosure may be impossible, only you can prevent an accidental poisoning by human made drugs. Both you and your cat will suffer if you do not do your job well.
Note: I am not a veterinarian. If your cat has been bitten by a snake take her in to your veterinarian immediately.
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