MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
There is a lot of 'Lauly' for a snake to sink its fangs into, a healthy 60-pound Lab with a gentle personality and a kind face. A few weeks ago, however, Lauly was anything but.
"I started crying and I cried for two days," said 11-year old Darry Elizabeth Freeman.
"Sure enough she had fang marks on her muzzle. Her face was swollen," said Dr. Frank Jones.
"Her neck was swollen like a volleyball," said Freeman.
A victim of what was probably a Copperhead.
"The next day our neighbor ran over a Copperhead," said Freeman.
Dr. Jones has been a veterinarian for some 40 years. It's been awhile since he can recall having to treat the number of snake-bitten pets in the last 30 days in Prattville.
"I would say 10 or 12," he said.
While there's no question that it's hot and dry, Dr. Jones believes there is another reason why snakes are suddenly making their presence known.
"The new neighborhoods that are being built on the fringes of town, invading wildlife," Jones said.
Jones says pets can survive snake bites if they're treated quickly. Non-poisonous snakes are not an issue. Venomous snakes present a challenge.
"The usual treatments are morphine, antibiotics, and fluids," said Dr. Jones.
Sometimes families will request anti-venom but that's very expensive. Lauly didn't need it in her case. Jones estimates he loses about 2 pets a year to snake bites.
There is another key factor to survival. As a rule of thumb the bigger the dog, the odds are better that it will survive.
So what do you do? Freeman says 'Lauly' is really more of an inside dog but by nature animals are inquisitive and love the outdoors.
"Avoidance is number one. Try to keep your pets under control and away from areas you might find snakes," said Dr. Jones.
All is well with 'Lauly' today. Dr. Jones does not anticipate any long term effects. The family spent a little more than $500.00 in treatments.
One lucky dog who took her licks and survived.