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Glastonbury dogs suffer serious injuries from rattlesnake bite

Tanner and Listo’s faces swelled after being bit Tuesday and were both hospitalized for days. Listo had to have a tracheotomy to breathe because of his swelling.

GLASTONBURY, Conn. — Two Glastonbury dogs are recovering after being bit by a rattlesnake in their backyard last Tuesday.

Tanner, a 3-year-old vizsla, and Listo, a 10-year-old miniature pinscher mix, were hospitalized for several days after the attack.

Owner Bob Murray said Listo began barking at something in their backyard and Tanner went over as well. He said he soon followed and could see the 5-foot snake in a coil and could hear the rattle.

Murray tried hitting the snake away with his cane, but it had already attacked the dogs.

“I was between 135 bpm and 140 so I was beginning to worry about myself,” he said.

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The dogs suffered serious injuries. Tanner began vomiting and had blood dripping from his cheek. Listo was shaking and had blood coming from his mouth.

Bob and his wife Lynn tried finding a vet clinic with anti-venom but weren’t having luck.

Credit: FOX61
10-year-old Listo had to have a tracheotomy because he couldn't breathe through his nose or mouth due to the swelling from the snake bite.

“We were packing them in the car to go wherever we were told to go and then we just turned around and headed off to Middletown,” Bob said.

Pieper Veterinary in Middletown had anti-venom so the couple headed there. Medical Director Doctor James Hammond said the anti-venom is costly and has a short shelf life which is why it’s not too easy to find.

Plus, there are only two types of venomous snakes in Connecticut that are also rare so he says many don’t stock up on the treatment.

Credit: FOX61
The Murray family rushed to Pieper Veterinary in Middletown after their dogs were bit by a rattlesnake for anti-venom.

“The big issue and one of the issues is the enzymes that are in the venom that break down the local tissue and cause local tissue inflammation,” the doctor said. “Depending on where they’re bitten it can create significant injury and significant damage.”

He said there can be more extreme injuries including blood clogging. The clinic only sees a couple of cases like this a year. They had another dog come Monday morning that was bit as well. 

“It’s hot, it’s warm out. A lot of people are out walking, that’s where the risk comes,” he said.

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Bob Murray said he’s grateful they found a clinic that could treat the pets as the outcome could have been worse with Listo’s breathing problems. Dr. Hammond said there’s a short four-hour window that’s ideal to administer the treatment.

WARNING: While this story has a happy ending, the following images may be upsetting to some readers. Please see captions...

Posted by Pieper Veterinary on Friday, August 19, 2022

Signs of a bite may not be immediate. The doctor said people should watch their pets for swelling, bleeding, and pain. He said it’s important to feel the pet for swelling including the limbs, neck, and face.

A bit from a non-venomous snake may not require treatment but could still lead to an infection.

The Murray family has lived at their Glastonbury home for 22 years. They had another dog five years ago get bit. Bob Murray said he’s grateful they were able to get help for his two dogs Tuesday.

“I mean the thought of losing both of our dogs,” he said. “If we hadn’t got him to Pieper within the hour he would have been gone.”

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He encourages other pet owners to watch out for rattlesnakes and have a plan in case an attack happens. The couple cut the grass in their yard and are planning to install snake fencing around to prevent the reptiles from entering their property.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at ablack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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