16 February 2016

Dogs: Snake bite and eye infection

If you are a pet owner, you will surely know that owning pets, comes with great responsibility. (just not super powers)

My Rottweiler has not had a great month.

The cobra
Just after Christmas, a cobra came a-calling (we get that sometimes), and my husband had gone out with our Rottie to investigate what was causing all the dogs to bark madly. He was expecting an iguana. What waited outside the gate that afternoon, under the shade of our sidewalk trees, was a black cobra.

Of course our Rottie sprang at it before hubs could stop her. Fortunately, hubs had gone out with a long bamboo cane in hand. In a short time, the cobra was subdued and hubs scooped it with the cane and threw the cobra into the wildlands just outside our borders.

However, he didn't realise our Rottie had been bitten by the cobra.

When , they came back into our compound, our Rottie went for a drink, as she is apt to do after exertion. My maid and I noticed that her right ear was wet. We touched it, and there was blood. Shortly after, our Rottie exhibited weakness in her hind legs and had to lie down. We feared she had suffered a snake bite.

She started breathing heavily and rapidly, her whole body heaving. I called our vet. He said if indeed she had suffered a snakebite, there was nothing to be done, and there is no anti venom available. The vet said that a sever snake bite may lead to death in one hour.

One hour?

We were stunned. My kids did not quite grasp the gravity of the situation. I tried to comfort our dog as best I could, talked to her, stroked her, calmed her. I also attempted to squeeze out blood from her bitten ear.

Her breathing became increasingly laboured. Her eyes glazed over. My heart sank.

But still we remained by her side.

Without warning, she defecated. She had no control over her bowels. It was watery stools. Then our Rottie got up, moved away and lay down again, breathing heavily. Her eyes lost the glossy look.

Then, she retched and vomited. A lot. All signs of snake poisoning.

But it had been more than an hour. We made her drink. We sat with her. Her breathing was still rapid but her eyes brightened. We called a friend who suggested feeding her 2 egg whites. What did we have to lose? So we did. I had to pour the liquid down her throat.

By nightfall, her breathing had quietened and she was still alive! She had survived the snake bite, probably on account of her size (40kg) and perhaps the snake had not delivered a full dose of its venom.

We took her to a different vet the next morning. She said our Rottie was lucky to have survived the snake bite.

The vet snipped off the fur on our Rottie's ear to reveal the wound; we could not see 2 distinct puncture marks. The vet administered an antibiotic shot to our Rottie, sprayed a wound healing substance onto her ear, and sent us home with more antibiotics, pain killers and anti swelling medicine.

It was a long week - our Rottie's ear swelled, Then the skin turned black while the surrounding tissue turned white and mushy. The skin on the ear was dying. My son said "it looks like a monster eye sitting in the middle of a volcano of pus". It was that ugly to behold. I had to made sure our Rottie ate her medicine, made sure to spray her ear with the vet's herbal spray, keep her ear clean and dry. And keep her from scratching at it. Which means I had to put our Rottie in an Elizabethan Cone (remember, the Cone of Shame in Up?)

I am happy to report that my Rottie has fully recovered.

The eye
In the midst of this, our Rottie got an eye infection.

I was like, what???

Her left eye exuded a lot of sticky substance and was watery. So I wiped her eye with a cotton ball soaked in warm salt water, followed by human unmedicated eye drops. I did this for a few days, and her eye healed. 

I hope there will be no more health challenges for my Rottie, this year of the Fire Monkey.

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