Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rattlesnakes in Northern Illinois?


I was very surprised to learn that indeed, there are poisonous rattlesnakes in N. Illinois! Almost 3 weeks ago, I found our LGD Belle laying on the front porch, one of her favorite spots. We are on a hill, and she can keep a close eye on things from there. No surprise to find her there, by evening, she hadn't moved. I checked her and found that she had a hugely swollen leg. I figured that she had gotten hit on the road. After further inspection, her leg and hips seemed fine, except for the huge swelling. I gave her a shot of dexamethasone, covered her with a wool blanket, and waited until I could call the vet. I couldn't sleep, and checked her several times during the night.


We took her in first thing Monday morning. She stayed in the intensive care unit for 2 days. The vet, who was from Texas, thought it looked just like some of the snake bites that she had seen. A little Internet research, and we found that there is a native rattlesnake to our area, the Massasauga, or swamp rattler http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sistrurus_catenatus. It's rare, but we do have the perfect habitat for it. Her whole leg was very weepy for about a week.
Belle has been on 2 pain meds and 3 broad spectrum antibiotics for the past 2 1/2 weeks, a total of 16 pills per day! We started out hiding the pills in meat, cheese, braunsweiger, but now, she is very suspicious of all treats and is fighting her pills. She's been a very good girl, stoic, as Pyrs go. Everyone at the vet clinic loves her, and can't imagine that she would be a good guard dog, though, she is!

We left her wound open for 2 weeks, but now it is wrapped, with changes every 2-3 days. Boy, does she hate that! Her vet has been very pleased with her progress. They felt that she may lose her leg. Now, it looks like maybe she'll lose a toe and part of her foot.

After many trips to the vet, things are finally looking up!

6 comments:

Shannon said...

Glad to hear she is on the mend and doing well! Poor girl and poor you for having to give her 16 pills a day! Hopefully she stays away from the snake from now on.

Chai Chai said...

How terrible for you LGD, but at least there is a happy ending. Snakes are bad news, do you have any way to get rid of it/them?

Stace said...

Poor girl :( So glad she's pulling through though....snakes bites are scary things!

Brenda Courtney Larson said...

Poor puppy! Hope she makes a quick and complete recovery.

Kelly said...

I'm so glad that she is better. Let her know the wraps are in style and she looks beautiful.

katiegirl said...

Oh my, how scary!! I hope she continues improving. Poor thing.