Mica at 14 weeks
There’s good and bad news.
The bad news is that the snake got Mica good and he’s in ICU getting antivenin, pain killers, and other fluids to flush out the venom and keep him comfortable.
He’s extremely swollen and they had to remove his collar.
He could die, or he could pull through. Of course we appreciate any good thoughts and healing energy you care to send his way. He’s a hurtin’ unit.
The good news is that he got the antivenin within 20 minutes of the bite. The first four hours are critical. He’s also very healthy, but, being a 15 week old puppy as of today, his immune system is not fully mature and perhaps a little compromised by the parvo/distemper shots he’s had.
We had these two love birds removed from our yard recently as they were sleeping together under our recycling bin. The local fire department sent a big red truck and three men. They relocate poisonous snakes far from civilization.
How did it happen? Today, Mica was out on the patio as he is most mornings. He likes to lie on the mat at the back door in between trips to the pool.
I was inside (I guess that makes me a terrible mother) and heard a thump against the house. Mica often runs into the house or falls against it when he’s playing as he’s not terribly coordinated yet, but I always check on him anyway.
When I looked through the glass of the door, Mica wasn’t on the mat, but a diamond back like the ones in the photo was right next to it, armed to the teeth. That’s when the panic set in, however I was immediately thankful it wasn’t a baby because they are inexperienced in bringing down their prey and usually use far more venom than they need to, whereas an adult is more sparing with it.
I then saw Mica sitting on the patio 10 feet away, looking stunned, as well as the two, bright red marks on his nose and my first thought was the usual, “Nooooo, this can’t be happening!” and the adrenalin started pumping.
I don’t know a lot about snake bites as we haven’t seen a lot of snakes in the past, but our mail carrier and I were discussing rattler bites earlier this week and he said all the dogs he knew died of the bites.
So… I thought Mica was going to die. I thought unless a dog had had a rattlesnake vaccination they would not pull through.
I called the vet who is, luckily for us, open on Saturday and was there in ten minutes.
At the local hospital one of the vet techs said she saw 55 snake bite cases come in to another practice where she worked and only one dog died, because it was a little pocket dog and the venom is just too strong for an animal that small. So Mica has size on his side. He’s 31 pounds now.
They got an IV into him and he got a very gradual drip of the $500 vial of antivenin and some morphine. Rattler bites are excruciatingly painful they said.
His nose was swelling quickly and he looked more like a Shar Pei, the vet said, than a Golden.
He seemed to be having difficulty breathing and his heart rate was fast so they gave him a sedative to relax him.
When Mica was resting comfortably on the stainless steel table, frogs legs and all, I left because I had to get to the post office before noon. The hospital closes at 2:00 on Saturdays so I had to make it quick and grab some lunch before going back to transfer Mica to the Emergency Hospital in Mesa.
When I got home a friend of our vet was there to get the snake and relocate it. He had gone over the yard with a fine-tooth comb and didn’t find the snake but made some suggestions so we wouldn’t attract them so much. He was showing me places to watch and as he moved a board at the gate the snake magically appeared. Jim confirmed it was a diamond back and immediately noted that it had no rattle and said Mica never had a chance.
He said most animals instinctively know that sound is a warning and to stay away, but this snake may have been in an altercation of some kind and his rattle was gone. Unfortunately, that meant he would be destroyed rather than relocated because he would be unable to warn anyone and could kill a hiker or any one of us.
When I returned to the hospital at 2:00 Mica was unrecognizable. His face resembled a puffer fish. He had an IV and brightly coloured rubber bandages on his shaved leg and the fang of the snake may have torn a piece off his nose as the hair was missing.
This was taken as we departed for Emergency.
When I arrived at the Emergency Hospital they didn’t even look at Mica in the examination room, but immediately whisked him off to ICU as his noisy breathing concerned them.
Here he is with a new IV and even more swollen. The pain meds were hooked up and they said soon he’d be more comfortable and would probably sleep.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep, but I intend Mica will make a rapid recovery and I will be able to bring him home tomorrow. The doctor we saw is on duty tonight and said he would call with an update this evening. It’s a 24-hour facility so Mica will be under constant observation.
I told my husband a couple of weeks ago that I would like to move. I’ve had enough of living out in the sticks. I don’t embrace the idea of having to wear army boots to walk around the patio, do gardening, or to have to carry Mica around. The snakes were here first and they can have it. It will soon be ten years that we’ve lived here. It’s time for a change. ~ BP