A Rattlesnake Bit My Dog! – Day 1


Just Our Usual Walk

This is the story of the very scary day when a rattlesnake bit my dog, Trixie.

It was a Thursday afternoon, around 2 pm, and like any other day in the south, it was very hot and very humid. Trixie and I had gone on our my dog walking in grass in summerafternoon walk through our woods as we usually do. Sometimes she is leashed and sometimes not. Just depends. She started off leashed. Then she went into an area of weeds that she likes, looking for a mouse that hangs out there. I unleashed her because some of the weeds are as tall as I am and she likes to walk back and forth and around in circles. It gets too hard to keep her from getting tangled, so I just let her go on her own. After a bit, she gave up on finding the mouse. Most times, I see it sneak off and Trixie never notices. She doesn’t understand when you point and tell her “there it is.”

We continued our walk and she went into a cleared area with pine needles on the ground. She was within a few feet of me. Then she continued further in where I could still see her, but not reach her very easily due to the brush. She started barking. She hardly barks at all, so I went to see what was going on. Then I heard it. That unmistakable rattle and it was pretty loud. I started yelling at Trixie to come to me and to Leave It! She hasn’t learned that 100% yet, nor recall, but with something new and exciting in front of her, I don’t think she would have come anyway.


Dash through the woods

i was ready to grab that snakeI had to run down one path and up another to get closer to her, all the while still trying to get her attention. I was ready to grab that snake! My fear had left me as I pushed through several branches of trees and shrubs and got within 5’ of her. That snake was really mad!  When I told her again to leave it, she did walk away to my right, but, a bit further away. Then I moved to my right to get her to come to me in a direction that was away from the snake. She started to come. I sighed with relief. But then, she had to go back one more time to bark at that snake.


Bite or no bite?

dog digging in the woods

I ran up to get her and the snake struck. I wasn’t fast enough. Trixie was between the snake and me and I didn’t have a clear view. She didn’t make any noise, so I thought she hadn’t been bit, that the snake just struck out. I got a hold of Trixie and leashed her. We went walking back to the house like nothing had ever happened. She was panting and drooling, but it was very hot and humid and that wasn’t unusual. I got her in the house and checked her over and didn’t see any signs of a bite. I asked my husband if he wanted to get a rattlesnake. Trixie was sitting in my room, one of her favorite hangouts, so we left so I could show him where the snake was.

Sorry about that snake, but there are 20 other acres he can hunt and relax on. I realized he was just doing his thing and he had been aggravated, but I have seen snakes next to the house. This one was about 5 years old. Stay away and live to see another day.


Bitten by a rattlesnake!

photo of rattlesnake ready to strike

Back at the house, I went to check on Trixie. She was still panting which was ok, we had only been gone maybe 20 minutes, but she didn’t seem to be acting herself. I thought maybe the right side of her neck was a bit swollen, but she had been putting on some fat lately. Too many treats I think. I called her to come into the other room so I could check for bites and she didn’t move. She follows me everywhere, so this was a bit unusual. I got her a treat and she didn’t want it. Then I knew for sure something was wrong. She has never passed up a treat. The swelling seemed to be a bit more pronounced and not just a roll of fat. I called to my husband and told him we were going to the vet, that Trixie had been bitten by the rattlesnake. I was now in panic mode by the time I called the vet to let them know we were coming.


Where are the police?


police car drawing

I got Trixie in the car under her own power; she loves to ride in the car and she and I headed off for the vet. David had a pile of brush he was burning in the yard, so I left him home to extinguish it. As I drove down the road, I was looking for a policeman to assist me in getting to the vet about 25 minutes away. The internet stated to get your pet to the vet IMMEDIATELY. I was doing just that.  Of course, never a policeman when you need one, right? At the last light before the vet’s office, a police car was in the left turn lane. I rolled down my window and asked if he could assist me, that my dog had been bitten by a rattlesnake. He said ok, go on. I thought that a strange response, but when I looked, the light had turned green. As I pulled away, I noticed he was in several cars back. How was he going to assist me from back there? I even saw him go into the center lane and I just shook my head. My focus was on getting to the vet.


Hurry up and wait



As I got Trixie out of the car, the policeman pulled up. I guess better late than never. Then I thought, maybe he thought I needed assistance getting her into the vet’s office? Hadn’t thought of it that way. I thought it pretty natural to ask for a police escort in an emergency. Hospital, vet what’s the difference? It was an emergency the internet stated. Into the lobby and I am told they will be with us shortly. Shortly? My dog has been bit by a mean rattlesnake! Let’s go now! About 5 minutes later we are taken to an examination room. There we sit for another 15 minutes. I’m really starting to lose it. Trixie’s neck is getting bigger. Is her airway ok? What else is going to happen?


Our Turn

The vet comes in and I tell him what happened. He said as long as the dog is treated within 24 hours. 24 hours? What about immediately? He said she should be fine, but she did look a little shocky. Now a dog under 30 pounds, he stated, would have a 50-50 chance. Trixie weighs at least 72 pounds. I breathe a sigh of relief. It doesn’t sound like she is going to die. He states he is going to take her to the back and set up an IV, give her antivenom, steroids and antibiotics. He stated they have a new antivenom, which is much cheaper. That sounds good. I’m thinking a $200 visit. (I wish.) He won’t let me go with her. She hates getting on that metal table and they just drag her onto it. She is connected to me at the hip bone; I think I can be of benefit. I am calm and not bothered by medical procedures, but the vet says no. Grrrrr!


Ready to go home

dog leg taped from i njuryAfter about an hour, we are ready to go home. The vet said she had been wagging her tail and did just fine. She should go home to a quiet and dark room with maybe some soothing music to sleep. He stated we must keep her blood pressure down. We have to come back at 7 am, which will be a Saturday and probably considered an emergency visit, but you do what you have to. This visit was already $500, plus tomorrow. Wish I had finished my research on pet insurance and signed her up. A friend mentioned Care Credit , but I was not familiar with it and had already left the vet’s office. When we arrived home, Trixie was so tired that she could hardly stand. Her left leg was taped up and she still had a catheter in it. That leg shook when she stood. It took a lot of coaxing to get her out of the car. She came in and went straight to bed on her cot in the living room. I already knew I wouldn’t sleep anyway, so I let her stay in the living room where I would be sleeping on the couch.


A Long Night

photo of dog with swollen face after being bit by a rattlesnake

I made dinner, but I didn’t taste any of it. Trixie is so tired, but she is sitting with her head up. Everytime she tries to put her head down, she brings it back up. She can’t lie on her side, which is her favorite position because her neck is so swollen. Trixie finally got to sleeping on her left side around 9 -930. She slept pretty good. She doesn’t move around much. The swelling seems to be going down from the right side over to her left side and maybe some down the front of her neck. The vet stated that the swelling follows gravity and will end up on her chest between her legs.

Day 2 Continued…

Has your dog ever been bitten by a poisonous snake?  What did you do?  Tell us your story below.

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