WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
THIS IS the stuff of nightmares.
Horrific photos of a snake bite have shown just what happens when a victim doesn’t receive adequate treatment following an attack.
The images, which were posted to Facebook group ‘Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’in New York, show the hand of an unidentified victim who has been bitten by a Sharp-nosed viper.
Initially, the bite itself looks like a small cut. But according to US-born, Australian-based venomologist Dr Bryan Fry — a bite like this can cause the death of cells within hours — which is exactly what happened for this person.
“That type of snake [Sharp-nosed viper] has a venom that is extremely tissue destroying,” Dr Fry told news.com.au.
“The reason for this is that they kill their prey by haemorrhagic shock, where some parts of the venom damage the blood vessel walls, while other parts destroy the ability of the blood to clot, leading to a state of massive internal bleeding in a prey animal.”
As Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, Dr Fry said because it is a Chinese snake, antivenom for a bite like this might be hard to come by in remote areas so having done a first aid course will help victim.
“If it was in a private collection somewhere, they probably didn’t have it and likely none of the nearby zoos would either,” he explained.
“Thus, they’d have to suffer through the full effects.”
Dr Fry, who studies different types of venom and their potential use for drug development, said massive swelling and bruising would show up in a matter of hours, while large chunks of tissue would be dead in a day or two.
“A finger or entire hand may have to be amputated 3-4 days after the bite,” he said.
“Other parts of the body may also be affected, with kidneys in particular copping a real beating so a person may be on dialysis too for the rest of their life.
In 2014, photos emerged of a 13-year-old girl whose leg shrivelled and turned completely black after being bitten by a snake.
She too had premature death of cells which caused her leg tissue to die.
According to the Instagram user who posted the image, the young girl was treated using traditional remedies from her indigenous culture before being transferred to Venezuela’s capital city for emergency medical treatment a month later.
The Instagram description written by Dr. Moreno Castillo, a surgeon specialising in trauma and orthopedics in the Central University of Venezuela and the University Hospital of Caracas, acknowledged the patient also suffered a broken elbow from the incident with the snake.
Make sure you complete a first aid course so that you can treat a snake bite.
News.com.au has contacted the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in New York for comment.