Why Dogs Are More Vulnerable To Snake Bites Than Cats

Our dogs are our best friends. We try to do everything within our power to keep them safe. But sometimes we can’t always anticipate the dangers that might be hiding in our own back yards, such as snakes. When it comes to venomous snakes, we can’t always see them coming. And unfortunately, there are occasions where our furry friends end up coming in contact with them. Surprisingly, there is scientific evidence to show that when it comes to snake bites it is out cats who are more than likely to survive, while our dogs may not. 

Dr.  Bryan Fry and Christina Zdenek from the University of Queensland noticed some disparities in the stats that were coming out of Australia. Out of all the dogs who were bitten by snakes, there was only a 31% survival rate among them. However, when looking at the stats when it came to cats and snake bites, the percentages were much higher. Of all cats who sustained snake bites, the survival rate was 66%. It was surprising, given that the deadly venom would be assumed more deadly to the smaller of the animals. 

But as Fry shared in a statement, “I’ve had two friends lose big dogs to snakebites, dying in less than 10 minutes even though the eastern brown snakes responsible were not particularly large specimens.”

Fry and Zdenek published their results in Comparative Biochemistry and Psychology. As the two scientists found, the deadly difference seems to be in the animals’ blood. The scientists took blood samples from both cats and dogs in order to test the effects of snake venom on the different animals’ blood. The scientists exposed the blood samples to 11 different snake venoms in order to see the different reactions. It was discovered that the blood from dogs normally clotted much quicker than the blood of cats. Clotting is a natural reaction from the blood that helps to control bleeding in the event that the body sustains injury. But some of Australia’s deadliest snakes end up killing their victims through blood coagulation – their venom has molecules that lead to clotting meaning that the blood won’t clot anywhere else in their body. This makes them more vulnerable to the poison from snake bites.

Perhaps there is something to be said about cats and their nine lives after all

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