Clinicopathologic abnormalities associated with snake envenomation in domestic animals

Amelia Goddard*, Johan P. Schoeman, Andrew L. Leisewitz, Salome S. Nagel, Itamar Aroch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Envenomation of domestic animals by snakes occurs frequently in certain geographic areas. However, reports describing clinical signs, clinicopathologic abnormalities, therapeutic approaches, and outcomes are sparse. This review summarizes various snake families, venom types associated with harmful snakes, and the significant hematologic, hemostatic, and biochemical abnormalities associated with envenomation. Hematologic abnormalities include RBC membrane abnormalities, hemolysis, hemoconcentration, leukogram changes, and platelet abnormalities, specifically thrombocytopenia. Coagulopathies associated with snake envenomation are well described in human medicine, and many studies have demonstrated properties of venoms that lead to both procoagulation and anticoagulation. As expected, similar abnormalities have been described in domestic animals. Biochemical abnormalities are associated with the effects of venom on tissues such as liver, skeletal and cardiac muscle, vascular endothelium, and kidney as well as effects on protein components and cholesterol. This comprehensive review of clinicopathologic abnormalities associated with envenomation and their relationships to characterized venom constituents should be useful both in the diagnosis and management of envenomation and should serve as a foundation for future research in this field.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)282-292
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Coagulopathy
  • Colubrids
  • Elapids
  • Hemoconcentration
  • Venom
  • Viperids


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