Woman's warning after dog found 'lifeless' from snake bite

Nadine Carroll
·3-min read

When Emily Usherwood called her two dogs, Echo and Bandit, for dinner and only Echo returned, she knew something was wrong.

“I ran outside looking for him because that wasn’t normal for him to not come when called,” Ms Usherwood from Townsville told to Yahoo News Australia.

“I found him in the darkness of the yard walking very slowly towards me, he just looked so weak, he couldn’t even keep his head up while walking to me.”

Bandit collapsed by the time he reached Ms Usherwood, his breathing was shallow, he was salivating and he refused to get up.

Bandit at the vets receiving treatment for a venomous snake bite
Bandit was only in his Townsville backyard for 15 minutes when he was bitten by a venomous snake. Source: Supplied

Ms Usherwood knew animal first aid, having previously worked for the RSPCA, and her instincts kicked in. She knew her dog was in real trouble with every minute counting.

“I knew the symptoms he was showing, it was some kind of snake bite or possibly he was poisoned, either way I knew I had to get him to a vet,” she said.

Ms Usherwood and her fiancé rushed their dog to the the nearest vet. During the car ride Bandit’s conditioned worsened as he lost control of his bowels and bladder.

“The whole way to the vet he just looked so lifeless, I thought he was going to die, I just kept talking to him to let him know that I was there,” Ms Userhwood recounted.

‘It was my gut feeling’

When they arrived at the Hammett Street Veterinary Surgery Ms Userhwood asked the vet to administer anti-venom.

“I just knew that it was a snake, it was my gut feeling, and I didn’t want to waste any time,” she explained.

After running tests, the vet confirmed the dog owner’s fear that Bandit had been bitten by a venomous snake.

Luckily for Bandit, his parents’ quick actions led to a pretty speedy recovery for a venomous snake bite. He returned home after 12 hours at the vet and is on the road to feeling better with his pal Echo by his side – and a new toy snake to practice his defence moves on.

Emily with her dog Bandit who survived a snake bite in Townsville
Emily with Bandit (left) and the recovering pup with his new toy. Source: Supplied

Snake season typically starts around October and November in Australia and the reptiles become more active as the weather continues to heat up.

Ms Usherwood said although she recognised the symptoms of a snake bite in Bandit, she was surprised that one had found its way into her yard.

“I have never seen a snake in the yard before, our yard is very well kept and there isn’t many places for snakes to hide, so it was very surprising that this happened,” she said.

She advises pet owners have a plan in place incase they suspect a bite, including keeping your pet as still as possible to slow the spread of venom while heading to the closest vet for treatment.

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