My day starts out in a sadly typical manner.
The first day our office is open after July 4 is a day of heavy fax machine use. Dogs get more family time and join in the celebration, but that isn’t always good. Some eat the wrong thing and get sick. Some get scared by fireworks and end up with diarrhea or even an injury from attempted escape. Most are treated at the emergency facility and released. My desk is littered with the reports.
Then I see Lemmy’s chart. I expect an upset belly. What I get is far more concerning.
Lemmy spent the weekend hospitalized at the emergency clinic, possibly near death. He was in the backyard with his family, blowing and chasing bubbles. Then his human siblings stepped into the wrong flower bed and angered a snake.
To be fair, it was probably more frightened than angered, but either way, Lemmy leapt to the family’s defense. Despite being almost 14 years old, he still drew the line at threatening his family.
Unfortunately, he ended up being bitten. The snake fled the scene. And within 15 minutes, Lemmy’s leg was swollen, bruised and extremely painful.
Unlike most snake envenomations, Lemmy was bitten with his owners present, so they knew what was wrong. They got him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. That saved his life. He was treated with anti-venom, the same as a human would receive, and supportive care.
Although the specific species of snake is unknown, it must have been venomous given the rapid progression of signs. Luckily, Lemmy responded to treatment and was released. Not all dogs are as lucky.
Most snakes aren’t venomous, and those that are really don’t look for trouble. But circumstances can lead to conflict. Different venoms may kill cells in the area of the bite, or cause blood clotting problems.
I will recheck Lemmy in a week to ensure all is well following his $3,000 weekend adventure and hospital visit.
Perhaps, I need to have a talk with him about acting his age.
Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at email@example.com.