Friday night, we had an evening woods walk with few puppy families. Saturday was go home day for Bliss and Sailor’s 8-week-old puppies. The rattlesnake didn’t alert with a rattle. The puppy didn’t cry. No one knew anything had happened until symptoms set in. Edited to add: I found out the next week where and when the strike happened.
On the way to the vet.
On the way to the vet.
Our first thought upon discovering a pup with a swollen face was that the puppy bit a bee or was stung perhaps multiple times. Yellow jackets have been plentiful this year. We gave him Benadryl, but it didn’t help, the swelling continued. He was agitated and in a LOT of pain. Rattlesnake bite was also on our radar. One of our vets met us at the hospital in Redding, so we didn’t have to use the ER with a puppy during the at-risk period for parvovirus.
The puppy resting in Tim’s arms after pain meds.
The vet also leaned toward rattlesnake bite due to the intense pain the puppy was suffering. But without the conclusive bite marks, we would be treating symptoms with powerful drugs. We shaved part of his head but couldn’t find fang marks, only a single scrape on the head with a dry scab. It’s hot and dry this time of year, a wound will scab over quickly. This puppy wasn’t presenting like a classic bee sting so we wondered if that spot could be the envenomation point since it was very tender to the touch. We started meds and blood work. If the blood work showed nothing, it would be of no help. But if the red blood cells were changing, we’d have our proof.
The envenomation site outlined by ink dots.
While we waited on blood work, the pain didn’t ease, even on pain med. As Tim and I decided we would go ahead and treat for snake bite, the vet came in with the results of the blood work. That with microscopy analysis confirmed the telltale signs of rattlesnake envenomation.
The puppy was hospitalized and started on antivenin, more pain meds, and supportive care. We returned home and went rattlesnake hunting.
Tim with the culprit.
By 11:00 pm that night, round two of antivenin was started and we had the culprit skinned and ready for the freezer.
By 8:00 am the next morning, the puppy was feeling better. He came home last night.
Of course, the puppy had been paired with a family. We candidly discussed their options and they chose to pass on this puppy and wait for a pup from another litter.
Fast forward to this morning, the puppy now known as Fang looks much better. He feels and acts like a normal puppy. It will take a few more days for the swelling to subside. He will stay with us until healed and then be paired with a new family. He’s one tough puppy.
Kelly, one of the techs shared this image with us.
The Northern Pacific rattlesnake delivered a glancing blow with a single fang. Had it succeeded in a full-on strike, I don’t know if the 8-week-old puppy would’ve survived.
Counting our blessings.
For those who are touting the highly advertised rattlesnake vaccine, take note. That vaccine is specifically designed around the western diamondback and isn’t supported by peer-reviewed research. Our rattlesnakes are the Northern Pacific rattlesnake. Different snake, different venom. A dog still requires veterinary attention even if “vaccinated”. Antivenin treatment is necessary if heavily envenomated, period. There is no conclusive research to support those vaccines for the rattlesnakes in our area. UC Davis Veterinary Hospital doesn’t stock the vaccine. In an NIH study of the Western Diamondback rattlesnake vaccine, within 48 hours 60% of the vaccinated subjects injected with Western diamondback venom died, 80% death rate for Northern Pacific and 100% death rate for Southern Pacific. Furthermore, an 8-week-old puppy isn’t old enough for this non-core vaccine.
His first night back home. 24 hours after the snakebite.
36 hours after the rattlesnake bite, the puppy is on the mend.
Getting a sneak peek of Spring around our place. The frying-pan poppies are scattered on the slope above the ponds. Lucky for me, I had help from one of Tasha and Sailor’s puppies to show them off. Let’s not forget Photobomb Phanny!
(click to enlarge)
A beautiful day in the frying-pan poppies for the puppy in the mandarine spice collar.
Earlier this month, Tim and I headed north to Saturday Night Golden Retrievers in Montana with Sailor, Tasha, and Bliss. We were on a special mission to bring home the newest addition to our retrievers.
Welcome home Phanny, our little Saturday Night Redtail Phantom.
Phanny’s off to a nice start. Bliss thinks we got a new puppy just for her as a playmate. Tasha keeps an eye on her. Sailor’s worried about sharing. Phanny is taking it all in. She loves swimming and getting her start as a hunting retriever. Here are some shots of Phanny’s first week home. Click to enlarge.
When you’re done here, check out Tim’s post and photos of the road trip.
Saturday Night Redtail Phantom – “Phanny”
The two of us in the meadow by the barn at the Flament’s. Home of Saturday Night Golden Retrievers.
“Lulu” Saturday Night Shenanigans – Phanny’s Dam
“Canuck” Heads Up Run For The Border RN – Phanny’s Sire
I took an opportunity to do a few drills with Sailor once we reached Saturday Night Golden Retrievers.
Tasha, Sailor, and Bliss by the creek the day before we left with Phanny.
We enjoyed the antelope in both Idaho and Montana.
We stopped at the Gallatin River for a family shot on our way to the west side of Yellowstone while heading home.
A wintery scene from Yellowstone.
Sailor watched the scenery, especially when beasts were about.
Now that’s nothing like the cows next door.
We enjoyed stopping for photo opportunities along the way.
Snake river canyon.
Phanny sleeping in the RV on the way home.
About half way home near the border between Idaho and Nevada, Tim snapped this shot of me with Phanny.
Phanny in the Idaho desert before crossing into Nevada.
Phanny sneaks a moment with Tim.
Wait for me!
Phanny tries really hard to keep up with Sailor.
The first shot of the pack at home. L-R: Bliss, Tasha, Phanny, Sailor
Wait for me. Phanny follows the big dogs into the little pond.
The nice cool water felt pretty good.
A natural born swimmer.
Invigorated by her first swim, Phanny shares her enthusiasm.
7-week-old Phanny meets her first live bird her first full day home.
It won’t be long and Phanny won’t fit into the cats’ house.
Phanny knocked the food bag over and helped herself.
Sailor shows Phanny how to frolic on the grass.
Phanny all misty from rolling in the morning dew.
Phanny meets the chickens. Later she will learn these are “no birds.”
Phanny in the blue lupin.
Tasha slips into the pond in an attempt to escape the pesky puppy.
Phanny and Sailor learning to share.
Planning a stick thieving strike.
Bliss plans a twig thieving strike.
Phanny is determined to snatch the ball from Tasha.
Bliss, Sailor, Tasha and Phanny in front.
Training starts early.
Phanny carries her prize.
Keeping a sharp eye on it.
Phanny marks her first water retrieve.
Better grab fast.
Proud puppy success.
Right into my hands with the bird.
Enjoying the moment. A good start for a future hunter.