“Snakebitten” for the first time

Thursday 9.23.10 – approx 5:30PM: Nancy, Bodi and Oliver were out on the trails for a evening walk, Nancy originally was not going to take them as her foot is still healing from the last time that – chasing something in the backyard – the boys had damaged her foot by using it for traction with their claws as they took off.

Doing her big loop in an area that we call Valhalla, she was going to cut it short and head back, but felt that as long as she was out and about she might as well take the slightly longer loop through the trail in the field and then back – give the boys a little longer walk since she had not been out as often with the sore foot.

Bodi and Oliver, unlike Tucker, will try to go after anything that moves, seeing a lizard on the trail is dangerous as they will turn on a dime and lunge into the brush, certain that they will catch the critter – and actually never even coming close. Due to this, Nancy always keeps them on a short leash and works hard to keep them out of the brush – smart girl there. I, as men do, let them off leash and deal with the consequences.

Because we take the boys out on the trails so often, and we have seen Rattle Snakes, we chose to get both of the boys hooked up with the Rattle Snake Vaccine. Unlike what most people think – the vaccine doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry if they get bitten, but it does give you more time before the major damage hits, which gives you a better chance to get to the doctor before your dog is very badly messed up. We can’t tell you for certain that the vaccine made a difference – Tucker never had the vaccine, and never got bitten, but if it made this even 1/1000th easier on Bodi by having it – it was well worth it, many times over.

So, back to the walk… Coming down the trail Bodi spots something and dives into the brush – Nancy pulls him back and instructs “LEAVE IT”, Oliver, now at the edge of the brush while Bodi is being reprimanded, starts batting at something with his paws – doing his best cat imitation. Nancy looks at what he is swatting at and sees the tail end of a rattle snake, “beating feet” as they say, leaving the scene.

Nancy pulls the pups close and starts to check them out, all looks well, and due to the fact that neither dog yelped, she feels like she has dodged a big one and things are OK. Taking one more quick look, she notices what looks like a small amount of blood on Bodi’s cheek, and two puncture wounds. Bodi still hasn’t given any reaction that he has been bitten, and is still ready to walk.

Nancy heads back and has to walk the 2 – 3 hundred yards back to the Jeep, her first reaction is that she should carry Bodi – but walking 2 dogs kind of rules that out – and Bodi, at just under 60 lbs. is still a bit of a carry for 300 yards up and down hills, over the trails. Within a short distance, Bodi starts to slow – and by the time he is about 50 yards away, is very slow, and salivating uncontrollably.

Nancy calls me shortly after the bite and lets me know what has happened, I call the nearest Vet and am informed that there are no doctor’s there at the moment – and gives instructions to go to the Animal Hospital. I call our good friend, and Bodi and Oliver’s normal doctor, Dr. Berry and he instructs me that we should head straight to his clinic, Agoura Animal Clinic – he would notify same and since he was off that day, they would be ready when Nancy got there. We would normally head straight to Agoura Animal Clinic, but since they are about 3 times as far away as the nearest clinic – we tried the nearest first.

I was at the clinic waiting for Nancy when she pulled up, and I got Bodi out of the Jeep. He was quite out of it by this time, with drool running out of his mouth. I carried him straight into the clinic and Dr Kane had Bodi on an IV, had anti venom into him, and checked everything out on Oliver as well, just to be sure that he hadn’t gotten nicked at the same time.

At this time Bodi’s face was starting to swell slightly, but they were surprised that he didn’t look worse. Since Nancy got him there so quickly he was just at the very beginning of the swelling that we would see over the next couple of days.

Once they were certain Bodi had stabalized, they gave us the rundown on Bodi, informed us that since we would be watching Bodi closer then anyone else throughout the night, sent us home with Bodi hooked up to a portable IV unit.

Unbelievably, throughout this entire ordeal, Bodi has not yelped, has not growled, has not whimpered – he went through it like a real trooper, and the only time we heard even the slightest whimper from him was when we would nudge his face while working on the IV – or when he had to go out to go to the bathroom and was trying to let us know.

Bodi was placed on the bed hooked up to the machine, drugs running through his system, and he pretty much stayed that way all night, while I stayed up and watched him to make sure that he got his antibiotics and pain killers at the prescribed times. It was a very long night for me – and I am sure, twice as long for Bodi.

The swelling was going strong throughout the night, and as of now – 2 days later, it still hasn’t stopped, it has slowed a bit – but hasn’t stopped. The swelling has moved down his face, throughout his chest, down his front leg, has bruised throughout the chest and leg area, it’s unbelievable how it has taken him. As of now, 2 days later he has trouble even walking from the swelling, and still, not a peep out of him from the pain. His face swelling has come down a bit, but he still can’t eat regularly due to the pain and swelling.

Oliver has been as careful as can be, he hasn’t tried to play with Bodi, has stepped aside when Bodi comes through and has spent a lot of time sniffing his wounds, and licking his face and body. The toughest part was when Bodi was at the clinic and laying on the blanket while they attended to him, Oliver kept trying to slide over to sit and/or lay down next to him, always trying to be a part of everything Bodi is going through.

So now – it’s just a matter of letting the toxins run their course, letting his little body fight what is going on – and spoiling him rotten with our caring and love.

8 comments to “Snakebitten” for the first time

  • oh no!!! poor baby. I’m so glad to hear that you had the vaccine. He looks just so pitiful in his pictures. I really hope his recovery comes quickly & he’s back on the trails again soon.

    Nancy Reply:

    Thank you Amanda! Bodi is doing much better now!

  • Bodi you poor thing!! Big loving licks from me in Australia and all the best for a super quick recovery!! I’ll be thinking of you. XX

    Nancy Reply:

    Thank you Beatrice in Australia! Bodi is doing much better now!

  • Poor Bodi! Last night we found a small rattlesnake (we think it was a Southern Pacific rattler) lying in the track of the sliding door in the backyard. My wife thinks she stepped right over it at least once, in bare feet, while she was going out to get ready to feed the dogs. Fortunately no people or dogs were bitten but it was pretty scary trying to keep it contained and out of the house until the fire department arrived to take care of it.

    Nancy Reply:

    Thank you Dennis (and thank you to your daddy too)… for the good wishes! Bodi is doing much better now! I will post some more pictures soon… he looks pretty much back to normal now!

  • Cheryl Kelly

    Thanks to Audrey Z, I saw a link to your blog on fb. Living in the back country, I’ve endured the misfortune of having one of my dog kids bitten by a rattler. I know several other individuals as well who have had similar experiences. And we are all very watchful owners just living in an environment with risks. I write to you because I am passionate about animal healing, psychology and vet medicine in general.

    Any traumatic event creates a vulnerability in the body and mind, and in turn can express itself in behavioral changes. PTSD works in much the same way in people, and therefore animals. My very mild mannered dog Hobo who was bitten during his senior years was never fully himself after the event. We were grateful that he lived many, many years beyond that experience, but his vigor and manner was affected. No aggressive tendencies manifested, but certainly an increase in his expressions of vulnerability. That was many years ago. I also have a friend who’s dog had the same experience with vigor following a bite. Our dogs were both low men on the totem poles in our wonderful packs in which they’d lived many years, and their vulnerabilities were expressed with increased submissiveness and neediness.

    It is certainly plausible to ascertain that any core behaviors could manifest. With self protective tendencies as a result of an increased sense of vulnerability, and the neurological affect of snakebite trauma which could possibly lead to hyper vigilance… shifting hierarchy in a pack seems quite probable.

    I believe we also treat or view our injured animals differently, leading to a change in behavior brought about through the energy we project onto them. We love them so much and I think we all have a tendency to do that. I know I can definitely be one to even sometimes overprotect my injured dogs.

    I wish I’d known as much back then as I do now about the energy that flows through our physiological systems. Today, I know that if the energy in our bodies is out of balance following any significant life occurrence, we need to help return that system into balance. This can be hopefully accomplished with alternative modalities which augment western medicine. (Western medicine is not designed to return to balance, but fix and repair the acute issues.) You may find that you wonderful boy could be helped with acupuncture, chiropractic, chinese herbs, homeopathy and/or other methods of body work . Even nutritional assessment. I fully believe these augment the healing process by assisting the body and mind’s return to balance. I’ve seen great success with both my horses and dogs. We use the most incredible holistic veterinarian in San Diego county. Their small and very comfortable healing center is such a joy to enter. Feels like a well balanced home, and the office staff is more helpful than any I’ve ever experienced. (And I should interject here, I was a veterinary technician for many years so I have extensive experience with western veterinary medicine, several vets and clinics. I will also say that I at this point I am merely a loving and passionate pet owner and no longer a technician, and have never worked for this healing center. I just believe in them. I am also passionate about animal behavior and veterinary medicine, both western and alternative. ) I would be happy to provide their contact info if you are interested. It seems like you are in Agoura, which is a bit of a jaunt. My sister drives to San Diego from Riverside for this vet when she needs his assistance. And I drive over an hour to get to him myself. They are humble, sensitive, caring and honest. The vet always introduces himself to new clients by his first name. He is brilliant, gentle and kind and passionate. If there is anyone in your area that they are familiar with who offers similar services, they would likely be more than willing to refer you. I believe they also have a website you could check out. It might be worth a call. They are reasonable, and in speaking to them, they would tell you if they think they could be of assistance. This center only augments your regular vet, and has a very broad knowledge of veterinary medicine. Perhaps there is someone you know of in your area with the same breadth of offerings. I believe this healing center to be genius. I believe it is difficult to find a vet that is well trained in acupuncture, chinese herbs and homeopathy all in one. For difficult chiropractic issues, he refers us to someone more skilled than he in that area, but he is also licensed as a chiropractor as well.

    In the late 90’s, we only had access to our large animal holistic vet who would help out with chiro, natural supplements and bach flower remedies. I honestly feel that if we had the accessibility to these current modalities back then, used in combination with one another, Hobo would have had much greater chance of returning to his old self. He was terrific and very well loved regardless. Best of luck.

    Regards,

    Cheryl

  • sue thorson

    clayton may have found his first snake bite. we live in columbia ca. now we are at a trailer park til
    we find property to live . we looked at the pictures and the docter may have confirmed it we were
    shock. but we are lrearning. we lived in the city now the country. thank you for site. same phone no if u need us.

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