How Much Do Doses of Croatian Snake Bite Antidote Cost?

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
A horned viper (poskok)
A horned viper (poskok)

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a horned viper recently bit a dog in Milesina in the Dalmatian hinterland. The unfortunate dog’s head swelled up due to the effects of the bite and that the desperate owner failed to find Croatian snake bite antidote in a number of veterinary clinics, even at the Veterinary Faculty in Zagreb. Local Sibenik portal Sibenski contacted the Clinic of Infectious Diseases at KBC Split to try and find out if there is enough Croatian snake bite antidote available.

“We have sufficient amounts of antidote, ie antiviperin serum, available, which a person bitten by a snake should receive as soon as possible in order to avoid the development of a clinical picture. It would be best to receive the antidote within three, at most six hours, but I’ve witnessed cases when people would come in for the antidote the next day or late in the evening after being bitten by a venomous snake, even though the snake bit them during the morning,” stated doc. dr. sc. Dragan Ledina, an infectologist at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases at the University Hospital Centre in Split.

So far this year, two cases of bites from horned vipers, otherwise Croatia’s most dangerous snake, have been recorded and confirmed at the Split Clinical Hospital, while in one case there was a suspicion, but the individual didn’t require hospital treatment, instead being merely observed for a few hours at the Clinic of Infectious Diseases.

“In both cases, they were women. We had a 77-year-old woman from Kamenski who was working in her garden and was bitten on the arm by a horned viper. She didn’t develop a severe clinical picture. However, a five-year-old girl from the Vrgorac area, who was also bitten by a horned viper, had a somewhat more severe clinical picture and became quite unwell. She was bitten by the snake while playing with her brothers near a water source. The girl’s entire arm and shoulders and chest were swollen from the bite. It’s not that it’s particularly painful, but it’s a really unpleasant feeling. The person who was under observation was most likely bitten by a snake, but it seems that there wasn’t enough venom inserted into the person’s body during the bite itself,” explained Dr. Ledina for Sibenski.

The five-year-old child stayed in the hospital for six days, while the older woman underwent treatment and observation treatment for three days. In the last 35 years, one death from the bite of a venomous snake has been recorded in the central Dalmatian area, ie the area covered by KBC Split. Then, a snake (once again a horned viper) bit an infant in a pram in the neck area. Since it was a very small child, and the snake released a large amount of venom with the bite which was also in a very dangerous location on the body, unfortunately the outcome was a fatal one.

“The most dangerous time for venomous snakes is in spring and summer, especially in late August. We have a lot of cases from the island of Hvar, where tourists put their hands on the dry stone walls where there a snake might be trying to rest, and it becomes irritated by this and then bites them. It also isn’t uncommon for a venomous snake to bite people hiking on Biokovo as well. Foreign tourists go there and are interested in seeing horned vipers, because they are rarer in France and in Italy. Then the tourists get too close to the snakes, annoy them, and of course, they get bitten,” added Dr. Ledina.

With all of this said, does the Clinic of Infectious Diseases have sufficient doses of antidote for bites from the dangerous black widow spider, which are also active and as such more dangerous in this part of the year.

“We have sufficient quantities of this antidote as well, although in recent years we haven’t had an excessive number of cases of black widow bites, for the simple reason that fewer people are engaged in agriculture today. Before, we had the most such cases from Kastela, the Trogir area and the area of ​​the Dalmatian hinterland,” concluded dr. sc. Dragan Ledina.

Imports from France

As has also been discovered, one dose of Croatian snake bite antidote imported from France costs around five thousand kuna. While for the exact same venom produced by the Immunology Institute right here in the City of Zagreb, has an antidote which costs far less. The idea of ​​producing Croatian snake bite antidote came back to life thanks to some medical circles, but only time will tell if it will ever come to fruition.

Snakes, including the horned viper, are not outwardly aggressive and only bite as a last resort

It is very important to note that snakes are heavily misunderstood creatures. Even horned vipers. Snakes will never go out of their way to bite you and an attack is their last form of defense, usually done out of fear. All types of snake native to Croatia would much prefer to remain as far as possible away from human activity. Take care and make sure to wear the proper footwear when walking through nature, and should you come across a snake, especially a horned viper, be respectful of it, give it a wide berth and do not do anything to irritate or provoke it.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.


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