Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Successful use of camelid (alpaca) antivenom to treat a potentially lethal tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) envenomation in a dog

Volume 114, May 2016, Pages 59–64


Successful treatment of a dog envenomed by a tiger snake (Notechis scutatus).
Treated with a novel polyvalent camelid (alpaca) antivenom.
Venom concentrations assayed in urine and serum by ELISA.
Camelid anti-tiger snake venom capture antibodies in ELISA.
No adverse effects and prompt recovery of the envenomed dog.


This report describes a confirmed clinical case of tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) envenomation in a domestic dog that was successfully treated with a novel polyvalent camelid (alpaca; Llama pacos) antivenom. Samples collected from the dog were assayed for tiger snake venom (TSV) using a highly sensitive and specific ELISA. The TSV concentration in serum and urine at initial presentation was 365 ng/mL and 11,640 ng/mL respectively. At the time of initial presentation whole blood collected from the dog did not clot and the Prothrombin Time was abnormally increased (>300 s). Serum was also visibly hemolysed. The dog was administered antihistamine, dexamethasone and 4000 Units (sufficient to neutralise 40 mg of TSV) of a novel polyvalent alpaca antivenom diluted in 0.9% NaCl. At 4 h post-antivenom treatment the dog's clinical condition had improved markedly with serum TSV concentrations below the limit of detection (<0.015 ng/mL), consistent with complete binding of venom antigens by the alpaca antivenom. Coagulation parameters had begun to improve by 4 h and had fully normalised by 16 h post-antivenom. Venom concentrations in both serum and urine remained undetectable at 16 h post-antivenom. The dog made a complete recovery, without complications, suggesting that the alpaca-based antivenom is both clinically safe and effective.


  • Snake venom
  • Snake antivenom snakebite
  • Venom
  • Tiger snake
  • Notechis scutatus;
  • Alpaca
  • Antibodies
  • Camelid antivenoms
  • Dog
  • Immunoassays
Corresponding author. 26 Howitt Ave, Bairnsdale, Victoria, 3875, Australia.