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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 671041, 12 pages
Review Article

Venomous and Poisonous Australian Animals of Veterinary Importance: A Rich Source of Novel Therapeutics

1Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
2School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 23 May 2014; Accepted 3 June 2014; Published 21 July 2014

Academic Editor: Francesco Dondero

Copyright © 2014 Margaret C. Hardy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Envenomation and poisoning by terrestrial animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) are a significant economic problem and health risk for domestic animals in Australia. Australian snakes are some of the most venomous animals in the world and bees, wasps, ants, paralysis ticks, and cane toads are also present as part of the venomous and poisonous fauna. The diagnosis and treatment of envenomation or poisoning in animals is a challenge and can be a traumatic and expensive process for owners. Despite the potency of Australian venoms, there is potential for novel veterinary therapeutics to be modeled on venom toxins, as has been the case with human pharmaceuticals. A comprehensive overview of envenomation and poisoning signs in livestock and companion animals is provided and related to the potential for venom toxins to act as therapeutics.