I remember thinking that a rattlesnake sure can coil up fast, but that was just during the moment before it struck, which was an eternity compared to the flash of fangs that hit Daisy.
She stood nearly four feet away from that thing, and I swear she was just about to lock into a point at it—she’s a German Shorthair after all—FLASH, RECOIL, RATTLE, YELP. Then me yelling NNNNOOOO! in a B-movie sort of slow motion. She ran to me, nose bloodied, as that thing sat coiled and rattling for a second helping. They say those snakes rattle to warn you not to come near, but I didn’t hear a report out of this one until after, almost as if to say: you want some more? come on!
In Northern New Mexico where I live, there are two types of viper: the green-hued Prairie Rattler, like the one that hit Daisy, and the larger, more venomous Diamondback. But I wasn’t thinking “what a bit of luck, it was only a little one” as drove her to the Veterinary ER in Santa Fe. Twenty four hours and $1,800 later, she seems in pretty good shape.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t my first run in with a poisonous snake. Several years ago my dog Zeke was bit, and he survived, and the only difference in treatment was antivenom. Herein lies the debate in the veterinary community around here, whether or not to give the dog the $600 treatment. My country vet rarely uses the antivenom, he says that in 20 years, he’s treated 20 dogs a year, and only lost two, and he adds that the injection isn’t completely benign, and that a dog can suffer a reaction to the cure. First do no harm. The vet at the ER suggested antivenom and I didn’t hesitate, and she was up and around, virtually pain free, within two days, where as Zeke was a suffering piñata of edema for more than a week. Anecdotal? For sure, but if this happens again, I’m paying for the vaccine.
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