Dog Gets Bitten in the Face to Save His Owner From a Venomous Snake

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic

A dog from Colorado Springs is being called a hero after stepping between his owner and a rattlesnake, saving her from a venomous bite.

The pup’s name is Rizzo. The loyal and brave lab-mix has a wonderful personality and has been an essential part of his owner’s life, bringing emotional support and company.

On Monday morning, Rizzo and his owner, Carrisa Welch, were hiking when a rattlesnake, lying in wait in the middle of the hiking trail, struck. 

I heard the rattle, turned around, and instantly yanked him,” Rizzo’s owner told KRDO. Unfortunately, she pulled Rizzo too late, and he was bitten in the face. The poor pooch ended up spending a day and a half in the emergency room.

“I wasn’t wearing my boots. Those were my trail running shoes - if he had not taken the bite I feel like it would have been me,” said Welch.

Welch’s brother-in-law, Joshua Randall, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help cover the cost of Rizzo’s treatment, which has created substantial expenses for his owner. 

According to the GoFundMe page, Rizzo has been an integral part of his owner’s life, bringing joy and companionship into Welsh’s everyday life. “His bravery and loyalty deserve recognition, and your contribution will ensure he receives the care he needs to heal and thrive once again,” wrote Randall in the campaign. 

Speaking with the local news outlet, Welch explained how Rizzo was there for her when she was dealing with mental health struggles in the past and that there’s no amount of money she wouldn’t pay to save her pup’s life. 

Rizzo is now home after racking up a few thousand dollars in vet bills. He has bald spots on the legs where the treatment was administered but is expected to make a full recovery.

I’m grateful and blessed to have him,” Welch said.

Although only a few snake bites prove fatal before the dog receives emergency veterinary help, Rizzo was lucky to survive after being bitten in the face. The severity of the snakebite depends on several factors including, the dog’s size, the type and size of the snake, the amount of venom delivered, and the location of the bite wound. 

American Kennel Club advises owners to call their veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately if a snake bites their dog. Owners should also inquire whether the vet or clinic carries the antivenom. 

Antivenom is the best treatment for snakebite and is the most effective when given immediately, but it will also work if administered hours or even days after a bite. Other possible treatments for snakebite in dogs include an opioid injection for the pain.

Some veterinarians may attempt to treat snakebite on a dog using other methods, most of which are ineffective. Studies have shown that sucking out venom, antihistamines, ice, corticosteroids, antibiotics, and NSAIDs aren’t effective for treating venomous snakebites on dogs. 

Don’t take your dog to a vet who advocates the use of any of these methods for treating snakebites. This type of treatment won’t help your dog get better and you’ll also end up spending thousands of dollars for nothing. Eventually, when you decide to take your dog to another vet, you may not be able to afford the effective treatment your pooch needs to recover fully.

If your dog gets bitten by a snake, try not to panic and always call the vet to ensure they have a proper treatment plan for venomous snakebites in place. 

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Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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