It started out as a beautiful Saturday. We were headed off to the dog park for the second time that day. What a treat for Gane & Sparta. It was around 7:00pm and it was starting to cool off. After spending 30-45min. at the park, it was time to leave.
Nearing the gates, Gane saw something move & went for it. Then we heard the rattle after Gane jumped back, nose starting to bleed out of two fang marks. Oh crap, he just got bit by a prairie rattle snake! Smallish snake, most likely a baby. The snake was standing in strike mode with the other ridgies circling it. Thank goodness they were called off & I rushed to get Gane to the car. Within those few minutes, he was dry heaving & had a very lethargic look to him. Not good. I called my vets emergency line & was told what ER to take him to. It was about a 25 min. drive, which felt like forever. Gane was laying in the back seat, muzzle becoming very swollen & he was unresponsive. I was in a panic. No way could I lose my beautiful boy! As I was crying, I kept calling his name, petting him trying to get a response. I told him now was not the time to leave us. His angels were with him.
Once in the ER, he was taken right back. Because of where he got bit, it was very serious. The vets have handled snake bites before, so I knew he was in good hands. The key was getting the pain under control. He was given morphine, steroids, fluids right away. He was also given a dose of anti-venin. The vet had told us that the anti-venin was very expensive at $509 per dose. Gane would most likely need more than one dose due to his size and how much venom the snake gave. Since it was a baby snake, they use all their venom when they bite as they do not know how to control it yet. At this point, I had to give Gane every fighting chance, so the bill was in the back of my mind.
After knowing he was stable, we went home. Of course I couldn't sleep & spent the night looking at snake bites in dogs on the internet. At 6am, we got a call saying they needed to give Gane a second dose of anti-venin. His face had become swollen to 15.5 inches around! His pain was staying under control & the CBC blood work was good. His blood pressure was elevated, so they kept a close watch on that. He remained at the ER for 3 days getting iv fluids & meds through a catheter in his leg.
Once the swelling began to come down, I was able to take him to our home vets where he spent another night. He was able to eat and got to come home that next day. He was still pretty swollen and in pain. He was given a pain patch(bottom of ridge) but once that wore off I gave him Rimadyl for a couple of days. Sparta was excited to see him when he first came home but once she sniffed his nose, she stayed away. He was so tired & slept for the next two days. His nose remained painful for about 2 weeks. The skin/tissue around his nose did not die. I am so thankful for that! Our total bill was $3400 but if I had to do it again, I would do the exact same thing. Gane is a precious gift in our lives and we want him with us for a long, long time.
I did call the city where the dog park is. I told them what had happened & it turned out the park wasn't open, nor would it be for another year! Said they needed to get rid of the wild life, mainly the rattle snakes! I had no idea the park wasn't open, as there were not any signs & the gates were not locked. Plenty of other people were there with their dogs as well. Needless to say, after my call, the gates are now locked and signs are up. Gane took one for the team but at least now another dog or person will not get bit by a snake. I now call the place 'rattle snake park'.