|Ren and the Rattlesnake|
|Saturday, 28 October 2006 00:00|
Life was good for Ren, a 14-year old terrier living in Guthrie, Okla., until one evening this past summer.
STILLWATER, Okla.–Life was good for Ren, a 14-year old terrier living in Guthrie, Okla., until one evening this past summer. Ren was bitten on the face by a timber rattlesnake in his backyard and nearly died.
When his owners, Don and Shirley Coffin, reached Ren, he was lying on his side and non-responsive. He was rushed to Guthrie Pet Hospital, where Ren was quickly stabilized with intravenous fluids, antihistamines and corticosteroids. Thanks to a quick referral from the Guthrie Animal Hospital, Ren was transported for treatment to the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences’ (CVHS) Boren Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital in Stillwater.
Ren was admitted into the ICU in critical condition. His body temperature was dropping, he was in pain and unaware of his surroundings. The venom from the snake bite began to affect many of Ren’s organs. The toxin caused severe damage to his muscles and he was passing myoglobin in his urine, which is a breakdown product of muscles. His heart muscle was affected and his heart rhythm was abnormal. Severe damage occurred to his intestinal tract, and he had vomiting and diarrhea that contained blood.
Ren was treated with antivenin to help counteract the snake venom. Pain medications were started. Because his body temperature was low, he was placed on a circulating water blanket and covered with warm blankets. In addition to intravenous fluids and antibiotics, Ren received a synthetic fluid product to help substitute for his lost protein. Oxygen was administered by placing him in an oxygen cage. Ren also received medications to help stop the vomiting and an immunosuppressive medication to try to stop his body from destroying its red blood cells.
Ren’s improvement was slow. He required a lot of hands-on care while at the CVHS Teaching Hospital. He was kept on soft bedding and turned from side to side. His face was warm packed to help bring down the swelling. Because of the diarrhea, he was cleaned and bathed frequently. He could not eat, so intravenous nutrition was given through his jugular catheter until his intestinal tract healed. Physical therapy was started to help maintain his flexibility, since he could not stand or walk.
The Coffin’s continue to work diligently with Ren, giving him medications and helping him regain the strength and coordination to walk on his own. Ren has made an amazing recovery. He is now able to walk without the cart, he eats and drinks well on his own and the values on his blood work continue to improve.