Dog Saves Owner From Rattlesnake

PhillipPhillip, an 11-month-old chocolate Labradoodle, is a brave dog. He saved his owner, Lynda Reynolds, and the other family dog, Jake, from a large female Western Diamondback rattlesnake.

Reynolds was letting the dogs out to the backyard and opened the door to her sun porch. Suddenly, Phillip pushed Reynolds and Jake away from an armoire, which was where the rattlesnake was hiding.

She called the sheriff’s office and the deputy that reported to the scene found the snake curled underneath the armoire and ready to attack. The deputy caught the six-foot long rattlesnake and removed it from Reynold’s house.

Reynolds thought the snake adventure was finally over. But three hours later, she noticed that Phillip was having difficulty breathing, was drooling, and swollen.

“I knew something was wrong when he didn’t get into bed beside me. I looked for him and found him at the front door dying. It was then that I found the bites,” said Reynolds. “He was bitten twice on the head, twice on the leg and once on the chest. I don’t even know how or when he got the bites.”

She called her veterinarian and was told that she needed to go to an emergency veterinary center. The cost would be $2,000 to help Phillip, but there was no guarantee that Phillip would recover.

Instead Reynolds took her brave dog home and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. Fortunately, Phillip made it through the night.

The next morning, she called friends to see what could be done with Phillip’s bites. She heard that horse groomers used DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide, on wounds and it reduces swelling and helps with the healing process.

Reynolds has continued with her DMSO treatment, and Phillip is getting better each day. He is now back to his happy and normal self.
All of the swelling has gone and there is no infection, and all that remains are the bite marks.

Reynolds first rescued Phillip in January. When she first saw him, he had parvo, worms and kennel cough. He was also suffering from starvation and dehydration. Now, after several months, this dog has grown and is healthy and is now a hero to Reynolds.

She said that ever since the rattlesnake incident, Phillip “stops and sniffs at the armoire every time he goes out now. Wouldn’t you?”

Source: Arizona Range News

15 Responses to “Dog Saves Owner From Rattlesnake”

  1. Becky says:

    OK, what am I missing here? This wonderful dog was bitten, and “dying” and she didn’t take him to the emergency care center for help? She didn’t call her friends until morning for “home” treatment advice? Thank God he made it. I would think twice about risking my life for others, if I were Phillip. I wonder, if she had been bitten, if she would have stayed at home without medical treatment, to see if by chance she pulled through……

  2. Nancy G. says:

    I know cats that have been bitten by Copperheads, and dogs that have been bitten by Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes [none mine] and they all recover without medical care. Most animals are not as severely affected by these snakes as people are. I would guess cattle, deer, horses, etc. are bitten all the time. Heck, Opossums even eat them. Would a dose or two of antivenin been that expensive, I wonder, without all the auxilliary care that would have run it up to $2000?

  3. Merlin Marshall says:

    I agree! Geez! The dog saves her life but she takes him home to die?!?! That is cold!

  4. Nora and Rufus says:

    Oddly enough, I just spoke to a dog owner who lives in Austin, Tx and her Beagle was bitten by a Rattlesnake in their back yard 2 weeks ago. She of course rushed her beloved doggie to the vet and after two vials of Anti-Venom and a $2200.00 vet bill, her dog recovered and is now back to normal. She said this months house payment will be made a few days after the grace period allowed by her mortgage company, but she would not have done it any other way.

  5. jillpw says:

    At least she could have brought him to the Vet ER and seen what they said and if she couldn’t afford the anti-venom they could have treated the wounds right away.

    Btw, this story is another argument for pet health insurance. It costs me $160 year for my cat (I have petplan). Last year she needed emergency surgery for swallowing a needle and the bill was $2300. The insurance covered $2100 (all but $200).

  6. DW says:

    DMSO is a solvent that goes right through the skin and takes whatever it encounters with it. In the labs you can sometimes get a chemical past the cell’s normal protective measures by letting the chemical ride in with the DMSO. (Put it on your skin and you can taste it on your tongue.) Putting DSMO on a snake bite rapidly disperses the venom throughout the body. That’s fine for breaking up a small blood clot or clearing accumulated fluids on a large animal, but DMSO is not the best thing for the liver. In this case it probably did provide relief for the pain the dog was experiencing at the bites.

    Rattlesnake venom isn’t as toxic as the movies would have you believe and the snake has some control over how much it injects. Larger snakes have a weaker venom per cc injected and snakes that have just killed and eaten are thought to be running a little low so they are inclined to inject less.

    I suspect that dog did not get the maximum dose of venom. I would not have been surprised if the DMSO treatment had killed him though — not the DMSO, but the venom flooding the other parts of the body. I would not be surprised if this dog ends up with some chronic damage to the major organs.

    Antivenom is that expensive but I suspect someone overstated the risk of death following treatment. I think that was just over-the-phone CYA from the clinic …understandable if they had not examined the dog. The dog had very good odds of making it with anti-venom treatment.

    As an aside #1 … some vets are offering rattle snake inoculations. It lesses the effect of a rattlesnake bite. Might look into it if you think you need it.

    Aside #2 … I once read a theory that the reason some frozen mammoths are found intact is because they ate buttercups. The buttercups contain DSMO and it acts as an antifreeze at the cellular level, preventing the total cellular disruption ice would normally cause. (Reading between the lines, DMSO goes EVERYWHERE and right into the cells. Although it’s commonly used with livestock and even ranch dogs, I would suggest caution with smaller animals and your llimit your own exposure.)

  7. Helen says:

    That is a very lucky dog that he survived the rattlesnake bites without veterinary care. I agree that it may be he will show sings of some organ damage in the future from the DMSO treatment.I live with dogs in rattlesnake country. All the dogs have had 3 or 4 of the rattlesnake bite innoculations as we started as soon as those were availabe. One dog went through a rattlesnake avoidance clinic as she was a lizard chaser and stuck her nose in rocky area. Despite that, let out one night, she was struck on the muzzle. She went to my vet immediately, and he had a vial of antivenin reconsituted when I arrived. She not only survived, next morning swelling gone and she was normal. Bill $773. I am not sorry I took her in.

  8. kathy says:

    OK, I agree with all of you to a point……..And that point is that most emergency clinics I have encountered want the $2000 in cash up front. In the middle of the day there is no way I could raise $2000 right now for a trip to the doggy ER, or anything else for that matter, much less in the middle of the night. No matter how much I loved the dog, I would have no choice but to take the dog home.

    The dog did survive, most dogs bitten by rattlers do survive, so ladies please just chill out. We’re not all as rich as you.

  9. Trudy Jackson says:

    When I worked for the vet, people brought their dogs in a lot with snake bite. Some did die. And of course, if gotten there real quick, most might make it.
    My cat got bit last year, I think He actually hit the snake in the mouth, not that much venom. I called the vet when I saw His whole leg swelled up three times it’s size. She said if He wasn’t dead by then that He would be alright. and to give him benedrill
    I always keep benedrill on hand for everything. snake bite, insect bite, reactions to shots, etc. works great. .

  10. kathy says:

    If I were bitten by a rattler and the hospital wanted $2000 up front, yes, I would go home. I would have no choice.

  11. Merlin Marshall says:

    I read the original article through the link. The woman owns a 33 acre ranch in California. I seriously doubt she couldn’t come up with the money. She says she didn’t have the money - probably means she didn’t want to give up her vacation money to save the dog without a “guarantee” the dog would live. Excuse me, I am by no means wealthy, but I spent $1800 on my cat with cancer for the chance he might live, which by the way he did not.

    Now if the woman had been living in an apartment on fixed income, or had a low income job, then probably true, she would have had no option but to take the dog home and hope for the best. But that is CLEARLY not the case. I still think her actions were cold.

  12. Emily says:

    I am a veterinarian and yes the cost for “gold standard” treatment for a rattlesnake bite can be costly but I think the dog at least deserved some pain control ( rattlesnake bites are PAINFUL). I do the best possible for patients if the owner has financial restraints. I would have even discussed the pros and cons to alternative treatments and at home care. I do think that it is really odd that the dog was thought to be dying and not even examined or treated conservatively. Sure many dogs do OK without expensive treatment but many die or have serious damage to the bite site ( necrosis of tissue ) or bleeding issues etc. It is not a pretty site.

  13. MAD COYOTE says:

    I have had three dogs bitten by vipers over the years.
    one was a large malamute/wolf hybrid bitten on the nose by a sidewinder the second one a german shepherd/malamute mix bitten on the tongue. a third a shepherd malamute mix was bitten on muzzle by a rattlesnake

    in the first case the hybrid was bitten at about 9 am. we were way back in the wild and it took us 8 hrs to hike out. i carried her for the last two hours when she started staggering, rushed to the vet who examined her and said that she was past the danger point and would recover. said we were probably lucky that she was a large dog (125 lbs) and that the sidewinder was a big one that just injected a small amount of venom. he said almost all larger dogs can easily survive most bites.
    in the second case the shepherd had a violent allergic reaction to the venom, in addition to the swelling her eyes rolled back in her head and the whites showing were completely red and bloodshot, she looked like she was possessed.
    4 and 5 inch long drools of thick white foam were hanging from her mouth like strands of thick shaving cream. all in all it scared the @#$% out of me when she wandered up to the cabin and i saw her. as best i can tell she had been bitten sometime in the last 6 hours. the bite mark was very tiny and we determined later that it was a very young/ baby timber rattler. in this case the vet said she wouldn’t have had a very good chance of surviving without medical treatment because of the catastrophic allergic reaction she had had.

    third case the dog was bitten but showed little reaction. we headed back to the truck with due haste , but other than swelling of the nose the dog did not display any other problems, we ended up not going to the vet but just treated with anti inflammatorys and aspirin, dog was fine by nightfall.
    bottom line…you just never know what circumstances will be and nobody can tell you exactly what is going to happen or what to do. and if you weren’t there its kinda unfair to judge the person or the situation .

    i am glad i took those first two dogs to the vet, but it wasn’t likely needed in the first case.

  14. Rick says:

    This person has bipolar disorder.

  15. Marie says:

    My dog was bit by a rattlesnake 2 weeks ago. He is a 30 lb. mixed breed dog. We live in southern California, on a hillside, and there have been a lot of snakes around this year. We got a cat to control the rodents around our house, and haven’t had a big snake in the yard for 2 years. I had let the dog run loose on the hillside and saw something jump out and bite him. He ran back to me and flopped over on his back and just lay there and yelped. I carried him home and we went straight to the vet. They gave us a price estimate of between $1,500 and $2,000 with no guarantee for the dog to survive. The antivenom is $500/vial. We said okay, but were nervous because I’ve been unemployed and we are living hand to mouth. Well, The dog is fine but the total bill for his care came to almost $4,000. The first cost was for the weekend at the emergency vet, then he had to go back to our vet because he was on an I.V. He had numerous blood tests and received plasma several times as well as some $100 pain shots. The bite was on his head and it was swollen up like a balloon. He was bitten just over his left eye, and his face was so swollen that he couldn’t shut his eye. I just found out about the innoculation, and we will do this next year. But when you are faced with this kind of emergency, it’s hard to make a quick decision. If my dog had been elderly or in poor health I would have asked the vet to put him to sleep to stop the suffering. He’s a wonderful animal and I’m glad we still have him, but sometimes you have to make hard decisions. With the debt now, we are on some pretty thin ice in the financial department.


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