Reggie is a playful, happy six year old Terrier. Being a Terrier he also has an unfortunate interest in playing with snakes! Reggie was treated for a snake bite earlier this year and also again a month ago. Fortunately, on both occasions, Reggie has made amazing recoveries largely due to his owner’s fast thinking in getting him to us quickly.
On both occasions, Reggie’s owners found Reggie with a dead brown snake in the backyard. Both times Reggie collapsed shortly after being bitten. When Reggie arrived for his second snake bite he was in a critical condition. Reggie was unconscious, had fluid in his lungs and was not breathing well.
Our vets and nurses quickly placed an IV catheter and gave Reggie medications to help him breath better and some pain relief. He was also put on oxygen to help him circulate enough around his body.
After a discussion with Reggie’s owners, some blood work was done and Reggie was given a vial of antivenin. Reggie needed a second vial of antivenin shortly after the first. A few hours after the second vial of antivenin Reggie was a little improved and was able to be kept in an oxygen tent.
Snake venom causes paralysis (unable to move muscles), which in turn stops the patient's ability to swallow and blink. It can also affect the ability of blood to clot and also cause muscle damage. Reggie suffered all of these signs. Over the next three days Reggie slowly improved, he was able to lift his head and eventually stand on his own.
Unfortunately, because Reggie was not able to blink, and despite part of his patient care including lubricating his eyes, he got corneal ulcers (sores on the surfaces of his eyes). These were treated with antibiotic ointment.
Reggie made a full recovery within a week but had to slowly build up his exercise level because of his sore muscles. Reggie's owners are working hard to ‘snake proof’ their backyard, with two further snake bite incidences since the time we wrote this article. Reggie is surely keeping his owners on their toes! Thank goodness his family has been there to ensure a good outcome each time.