This home-grown family business produces life-saving tick and snake antivenenes for animals.

Story By Amanda Burdon

‘Xena’ the pet Rottweiler was 30 kilometres from veterinary care in the rugged hills west of Tenterfield, NSW, when she came off second best during an encounter with a deadly spotted black snake. in the hour it took owner wendy Daley to rush Xena to town, the hefty dog had started to drool uncontrollably and lose control of her limbs as toxins flooded her system.
That Xena was back home the same afternoon and back to her naughty best “tearing up the garden” within a few weeks is thanks to the swift action of vet Pip Bacon and a life-saving serum produced just over the ranges in northern New South Wales. “My six-year-old son was close to picking up the snake when Xena grabbed it, so she almost certainly saved him from being bitten,” Wendy says. “To our family, she is incredibly precious and i’m just so grateful that the anti-serum was available. I was amazed at how fast it worked.”
The life-saving vial of bivalent antivenom – a drug that can be used to treat a variety of snakebites – came from the small laboratory of Summerland Serums, a company established by former north coast vet Keith Curtin and now managed by his son John near Alstonville. As well as the serum to treat snakebites, the pair produces two paralysis tick anti-venoms that annually save the lives of countless pets and working dogs along the moist east coast of Australia.

This story excerpt is from Issue #92

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2014