Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Living In Rattlesnake Country

I picked Duke up from the vet clinic this morning. Sunday night my husband took him for a walk up at the cemetery and Duke raced off the second his kennel door was opened. About twenty minutes later my husband was surprised to see him come limping back to him on three legs and in pain. He examined the hurt leg and found a one inch cut on the side of it near what would be the wrist in a human. The joint was also swelling up. He figured Duke had somehow banged the leg on something and given himself a contusion. When he got him home we put ice on his leg to keep the swelling down but a half hour later the whole leg was swollen to twice its size and we knew he must have been bit by a rattlesnake.

We rushed him to the vet clinic. That was an experience in itself. I hate driving after dark on country roads. Kangaroo rats kept darting across the road in front of us. (Yeaaa, Rusty's in the club!) One did not make it and the small thumping noise his body made after it was hit by the left front tire was upsetting to me. Then we saw a deer standing beside the road about a mile from the clinic and had to slow down. Deer crossing roadways do so in groups and sometimes one will panic and jump right out in front of your car.

When we arrived at the clinic the first thing the vet did was shave the fur off Duke's leg where the cut was. When he finished we could see that what we thought was a cut was a puncture wound. It looked like a cut because blood had trickled down into the fur right below the wound. The bad news was it was a rattlesnake bite. The good news was the snake had only managed to get Duke with one fang. Duke was immediately put on antibiotics, pain medication, and IV fluids. We had to leave him at the clinic because the doctor wanted to keep him on fluids for at least 24 hours.

When we got back home the house seemed empty with Duke gone and yesterday was just as bad. It was just too calm and quiet without Duke's energy filling every room. I took Kate with me when I went to pick Duke up this morning and they both were very glad to see each other. Duke is doing well and his leg, although still swollen a bit, looks a lot better than it did Sunday night. I swear, my dogs are going to be the death of me yet.

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