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A retrospective evaluation of coral snake envenomation in dogs and cats: 20 cases (1996–2011)


  • The authors declare no conflict of interests.

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Dr. Michael Schaer, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, PO Box 100126, 2015 SW 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.




To describe the clinical signs, treatment, and outcomes of dogs and cats following envenomation by the eastern coral snake and to report our clinical experience with the use of Coralmyn.


Retrospective study (1996–2011).


University teaching hospital.


Sixteen dogs and 4 cats with eastern coral snake envenomation.

Measurements and Main Results

Medical records meeting the study inclusion criteria were reviewed and evaluated for signalment, date and time of the snake encounter, elapsed time between encounter and hospital examination, initial physical examination findings, antivenom type, length of hospitalization, and outcome. Initial physical examination findings included: quiet mentation, tetraparesis, ptyalism, tachypnea, abdominal breathing, shallow breathing, decreased to absent gag reflex, ataxia, muscle fasciculations, and decreased spinal reflexes. Laboratory findings in dogs included proteinuria, bilirubinuria, hemeproteinuria, increased aspartate aminotransferase activity, increased alanine aminotransferase activity, and hemolysis. Four dogs and 2 cats received Coralmyn and 4 dogs received North American Coral Snake Antivenom. Adverse reaction to antivenom was suspected in 1 dog that received North American Coral Snake Antivenom. Eight of 11 envenomated dogs survived with a median length of hospitalization of 4.5 days. Two of 3 envenomated cats survived with a median length of hospitalization of 4 days. Two dogs were euthanized, 1 dog suffered acute respiratory arrest, and 1 cat developed tachycardia that progressed to pulseless electrical activity. Five dogs and 1 cat in the encounter group survived to discharge.


Diagnosis of eastern coral snake envenomation is likely in the dog that has concomitant lower motor neuron neuropathy, bulbar palsy, and hemolysis. Early diagnosis is crucial as antivenom administration can reduce morbidity. Prognosis is considered good with 71% of the envenomated patients in this study surviving to discharge. Supportive care that may include ventilator assistance and antivenom administration are the mainstays of therapy.

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