Pit Viper Bite Poisoning In Cats: What Do You Need To Know About It?


Pit vipers are snakes that are a member of the Crotalinae family of snakes. They are recognized for the retractable fangs they have. They might be renowned from some other snakes through the heat-seeking pit that they have in between their eyes and nostril on the head. The range is all throughout the continental United States. The bites of these snakes most frequently happen in rural areas where these snakes are more often seen. Moreover, these snakes oftentimes attack on felines, which causes the pit viper bite poisoning in cats. In this article, we will discuss some more important facts about pit viper bite poisoning in cats including its causes, symptoms, prognosis and treatments. Read on to learn more about these!

What is Pit Viper Bite Poisoning?

The area where your cat is gnawed by a snake greatly matters. The bites, which take place in the cat’s body adjacent to the heart are frequently deadly. Every bite may differ in venom toxicity and volume, thus making it difficult to determine the symptoms’ onset. The pit viper venom might interfere with the ability of the body to accumulate blood that may cause a bitten cat to bleed, or cause the blood to coagulate very promptly, thus causing organ failure. Most of the bites appear on the limbs, head, or neck. Some of the pit viper bite in cats might inject just neurotoxins, which paralyze slowly the cat, as well as ultimately stop the respiratory system. Whatever snake bite is essentially a medical emergency necessitating an immediate vet attention.

Moreover, pit vipers are the venomous snakes that are found in so many parts of the North America. They have pit in between their nostrils and eyes that might lead to the name of the snake. They’re the biggest venomous snakes, which range from 4-8 feet long. They also include copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes. It’s assessed that, on an average, about 150,000 dogs and cats are gnawed by these types of snakes each year. Also, the snake doesn’t always release the venom in the bite, only doing it when they’re threatened. About 3 over 4 bites are actually venomous.


Even only the existence of the cat might be enough to intimidate a pit viper to bite. If you’re in a certain area where pit viper snakes are known to live, it is the best that you keep close tabs on your cats. If the cats are allowable to roam outside where the snakes are present, there might be a risk of pit viper bites. Moreover, the toxic venom from the snake’s bite may destroy the cat’s red blood cells, cause blood coagulation, and get paralyzed. The pit viper bite poisoning in cats might also kill the body tissues, coagulating a snake bite being an austere threat to the life of the cat.


The symptoms of the pit viper bite poisoning in cats might progress instantaneously at any given time after the bite has occurred. If 1 or 2 bleeding wound lesions are eminent and they start to hemorrhage or cause inflamed, the venom has possibly been injected in the cat. Some other symptoms that you need to watch for include the following:

  • Shock
  • Spreading local tissue damage
  • Abnormal gait
  • Drooling
  • Restlessness
  • Bleeding, slow blood clotting, or bruising
  • Unusually low blood pressure level
  • Labored or shallow breathing
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme pain

In addition, if you saw the snake’s bite or you think that it has occurred, you need to keep your cat resting down and transport it promptly to a vet clinic. You shouldn’t wait and see if the symptoms show. The life of your cat is at stake.


pit viper bite poisoning in cats

Before you get to arrive at the vet clinic, call ahead in order to verify if they have antivenin for pit viper bite on hand. They might have to obtain some from a human hospital or you might be referred to neighboring facility, which carries an antivenin. Not all of the venters carry this antivenin as it is so expensive and doesn’t have a lengthy shelf life.

Securing an antivenin before even the diagnosis is certain is the best thing that you can do, since the cat only have limited time before its organ will shut down. In case the snake’s been killed, bring it with you, yet make sure that you don’t touch its fangs, since they remain venomous even after its death.

Treatment for Pit Viper Bite Poisoning in Cats

The first aid measures for pit viper bite poisoning in cats may include calming the cat and keeping it still, as the activity might move the venom all throughout its system even more rapidly. Transporting the cat promptly to a vet clinic is so important. In the clinic, intravenous fluids might be given, in order to correct the low blood pressure. Furthermore, oxygen might also be given for breathing disparities, as well as transfusions for austere clotting issues.

If you’re certain that the cat is a victim of snakebite, you’ll need to make it known to the vet so anti-venom serum might be administered. The sooner it is administered, the better the survival rate of the cat.


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