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Animal Specialty & Emergency Center of Brevard

A Hero’s Ordeal: Grey’s Battle with a Rattlesnake Bite

Grey, an 8-year-old Great Dane Mix

Meet Grey, an 8-year-old Great Dane mix who serves as a loyal service dog for his owner. Grey’s calm demeanor and devoted companionship are a testament to his role as a service animal, providing invaluable support to his human. However, Grey faced a life-threatening situation that tested his strength and the quick response of his caretakers and medical team.

On May 20th, Grey was bitten by a rattlesnake on his muzzle. Recognizing the severity of the situation, his owners acted swiftly, rushing him to ASEC. Upon arrival, it was clear that Grey was in critical condition, suffering from significant swelling and bleeding at the puncture sites.

Rattlesnake venom can be highly toxic. It can cause extensive local tissue damage, severe swelling, bleeding disorders, and in some cases, can lead to shock. Immediate and effective treatment is crucial for survival. The cornerstone of such treatment is the administration of antivenin, which neutralizes the venom’s toxins.

Grey's treatment was intensive. He received six vials of antivenin over the course of two days. The decision to administer antivenin and the amount required was based on careful monitoring of Grey’s symptoms, particularly the extent of swelling and pain, as well as his blood’s ability to clot, measured through in-house lab tests. Elevated coagulation times and progressive swelling indicated the need for additional doses of antivenin. In addition to antivenin, Grey was given fluid therapy to manage signs of shock and pain medication to keep him comfortable. This multi-faceted approach was essential in stabilizing Grey and supporting his recovery.

After two days of round-the-clock care, Grey’s condition improved significantly. The swelling subsided, and his coagulation times returned to normal, allowing him to be safely discharged. The joy and relief were palpable as Grey was reunited with his family, a moment that underscored the resilience and strength of this remarkable dog.

Dr. Barchard, the veterinarian on duty when Grey was brought in, played a crucial role in his survival. The prompt administration of antivenin and comprehensive care provided by Dr. Barchard and the entire ER team were pivotal in Grey’s recovery. Their expertise and dedication highlight the importance of having skilled emergency veterinarians available 24/7 to handle such critical situations.

Grey’s story is a powerful reminder of the vital role that emergency veterinary services play in saving the lives of our beloved pets. We are profoundly grateful for our amazing ER veterinarians who are always prepared to step in and provide life-saving care whenever it’s needed. Grey's bravery and the swift actions of his family and medical team turned a potentially tragic incident into a story of hope and resilience. We celebrate Grey’s recovery and honor the dedication of those who helped save his life. Stay vigilant and safe, everyone. And always remember, in an emergency, every second counts.