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2010, Vol. 5 No. 2, Article 69


Therapeutic Management of Snakebite
Envenomation in a Goat

Mritunjay Kumar*, Abhishek Kumar and S. Haque



Department of Veterinary Medicine,
Ranchi Veterinary College, Kanke, Ranchi-843006, Jharkhand



*Corresponding Author; e-mail address: kumar.drmritunjay@gmail.com



A Jamuna pari goat aged about two and half years was presented with a history of sudden swelling in tongue and periorbital region following snake bite. Clinical examination revealed pale conjunctival mucous membrane, incoordination, frothy salivation, dullness, tympany with low ruminal pH, swelled cyanotic tongue and periorbital region. Administration of polyvalent snake venom antiserum, 5% dextrose, dexamethasone phosphate, normal saline, tetanus toxoid and broad-spectrum antibiotic brought about an uneventful recovery of the animal.


Goat, snake bite, polyvalent snake venom antiserum.


Snakebite envenomation in man and animals is an emergency that requires rapid examination and critical care for proper treatment. Nearly one lakh animals in the world fall prey to venomous snake bite every year. The severity of the snakebite in animals depends upon the type of snake, age of the animal, size of the animal, the number of bites and the amount of venom injected (1). The clinical effects are more severe in small animals as compared to large animals. Reports on the management of snake bite have been recorded in dog (2) and cats (3) but the information available on this aspect in case of goat is scanty.


A Jamuna pari goat about two and half years' old was presented at the clinics of Ranchi Veterinary College with history of sudden swelling in tongue and peri orbital region following snakebite while grazing. Clinical examination revealed pale conjunctival mucous membrane, incoordination, frothy salivation, dullness, tympany with low pH, swollen cyanotic tongue and periorbital region with presence of fang marks on the centre of the tongue. The clinical parameters of body temperature, pulse and respiratory rate were within normal range.
10 ml of polyvalent snake venom antiserum along with 250 ml of 5% dextrose was administered intravenously fallowed by Dexamethasone phosphate 0.5 mg/kg, and 250 ml of normal saline. 3 ml of Tetanus toxoid was also administered subcutaneously as single dose. In addition, a combination of Ampicillin and cloxacillin 15 mg per kg b. wt. was given intramuscularly twice a day for 3 days.

RESULTS and discussion

The clinical symptoms of pale conjunctival mucous membrane, incoordination, frothy salivation, dullness, tympany with low pH were in line with the reports of Shearer (1998). An uneventful recovery was recorded following the treatment with antiserum along with antibiotics, dexamethasone and tetanus toxoid. Broad-spectrum antibiotics, tetanus toxoid and polyvalent snake venom antiserum have earlier been tried successfully for the treatment of snakebite envenomation in dogs, cats and other animals (Jain 1986; Bailey and Garland, 1992 and Nicholsan, 1995).
The toxicity of snake venom is attributed mainly to proteolytic enzymes viz., phosphatidase, cholinesterase and neurotoxin. The clinical picture of snakebite exhibits a great deal of variation, depending upon the chemical composition of venom, type of animal affected, site of bite and amount of venom injected. During present study the identification of snake could not done. Therefore of polyvalent snake anti-venom was administered. The fangs of a snake are invariably contaminated with various types of bacteria which warrants use of broad spectrum antibiotics in bitten animals. Anti-venom may sometimes cause anaphylactic reactions as it is derived from hyper immunised horse serum with concentrated and purified immuno globulins which may lead to immediate or delayed immune reactions in certain cases (Jain,1986). Antihistamines, hydrocortisone and adrenaline (1:10,000 dilution) can best counter such anaphylactic reactions (Singh 2002).


  1. Palanivel KM, Sathiamourth GRS, Nagaranjan B, Ganesh TN. Snake bite and its treatment in dogs and cats. Indian Vet. J. 2007;84:739-740.

  2. Vijay Kumar G, Kavita SG, Krishnakumar K, Thirunavukkerasu PS, Subramania M. Snake envenomation in dog- A case report, Indian Vet J. 2001;78 : 1146-1149.

  3. Hungerford TG. Diseases of livestock. IXth (Ed) McGraw-Hill Book company, Sydney, 1990.

  4. Bailey EM and Garland T. Toxicological emergencies. In ‘ Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care”. Murtaugh, R.J., Kalpana, P.M. (eds), St. Louis, Mosby yearbook, 1992.

  5. Shearer T S.. Emergency first add for your dog. Timber Rattlers vs dogs. 1998, p. 1-3.

  6. Nicholsan SS.. Toxicology In: Text Book of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Diseases of Dog and Cat. Ettinger, S. J. and Feldman, E.C. (eds). Vol. I, IVth (Ed).WB Sounders, Co., Philedelphia, 1995.

  7. Jain NC. Schalm’s Veterinary Haematology. IVth (Ed), Lea and Febigen, Philadelphia, 1986.

  8. B. Clinicopathology, diagnosis, treatment of snake bites in animals. Intas Polivet., 2002; 3: 1-9. 



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