Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 7 of Carmella's Snake Bite Recovery, and Day 1 of EvoraPet Oral Probiotic
Carmella's skin color is getting better each day and the scab on her toe is healing. She still wants to sleep alot but when I take her outside she bounds around like she usually does and no longer avoids putting weight on the leg that was bitten by the snakes.
As you can see below, the bruise on her stomach is gradually shrinking in size and the edges are more defined.
The medications are doing their job. The only thing I notice out of the ordinary is that she's peeing alot more and more frequently than she usually does, and I'm not sure whether she's always aware of when she has to go. She slept on my bed agan for most of the day and when I left the room for just a few minutes to go to the kitchen I thought she had gone back to sleep but when I came back she was still on the bed but I saw a big puddle on my rug. Carmella looked at me guiltily and jumped down to leave the room. She has been housebroken for a long time and usually whines when she has to go to the bathroom. I don't know if the urge came on suddenly this time or what was wrong but she can usually hold it long enough for me to get her out the door in plenty of time.

I had to use a big towel on the rug and then spray some enzyme on it so that my room wouldn't stink. The enzyme is left to air dry over a 24 hour period while it dissolves the urine and any bacteria in it. It's a good thing I had almost a full bottle left because I've rarely had to use it. If any of you have puppies this stuff is good to have on hand and works better than bleach, Pine Sol, or most other commercial cleaners/disinfectants because it gets right to the root of the odor rather than covering it up or using potentially toxic chemicals. Most brands of enzyme are biodegradeable and just dissipate once they've done what they're designed to do. You can ask for it at just about any pet supply store.

Well, speaking of pet products, I put a scoop of that EvoraPet on Carmella's food tonight. The company says it's tasteless but she managed to weed the majority of it out and shove that part of her food aside after eating the rest. They must have forgotten that a dog's sense of smell is way stronger than ours! I had worried that might happened and wondered how one could be sure the animal got the full dose that way.

Luckily Carmella can't resist the juice that seperates from yogurt and I had some in the refrigerator, so I poured that over the pieces of dog food she'd refused and the flavor of that disguised the flavor or smell of the probiotic powder and then she licked the bowl clean of every last particle.

Before her first dose I took pictures of some of her teeth so that I can do comparisons over the next few weeks. Her teeth are fairly white but she does tend to get tartar around the gumline, especially around her molars. I think this is due to her strangely proportioned head which is about half as long as it should be for her size, and her teeth are set way back into her head. Although she chews on bones and dog biscuits daily those molars are too far back for these to scrape off the plaque, and it's next to impossible to stick a toothbrush back that far. Her molars nearly reach the back of her throat! When you open her mouth wide enough to see it kind of looks like the jaws of an alligator except that her snout is not proportionally as long.

Photographing her teeth with one hand while keeping her mouth open (and still) with the other was hard to do but I got a few really good shots. You can see that she has some yellow in the grooves of her molars that are hardest to reach. Probably being on antibiotics for the Copperhead bites has actually already helped her breath because I could stand to get near her mouth which I can't do when it's at its worst, but the yellow areas in her teeth will serve as a good baseline, and it's possible that her breath will be even better once she's been on this a little while. Her mouth is still rather slimy (which it isn't after her teeth have recently been cleaned) so if that goes away that is likely an indication it's working also.
Left upper molar
I'm not sure whether the little black dot in this molar on the upper left side is a cavity or some sort of particle.

Left lower molar

Right side upper molars and lower teeth (Close-up)

Right upper molars and lower teeth

Upper right Canines and Bicuspids

The teeth closer to the front of Carmella's mouth have less visible plaque. There's only a little bit right at the gumline. Her chewing of bones and dog treats has definitely prevented alot of it from forming on these teeth.

Cuspids and Left Side Canine (Upper)

I'll take more photos of her teeth periodically to compare with these.

Here are a few cute shots I took of her in the kitchen today.

Carmella licking her healing foot

 Carmella playing with big bone

 Carmella walking and turning around

Carmella with front foot tucked under chest and ears at attention

In the morning the man from Rid-a-Critter is coming to look around for any possible snake dens and I hope, will be able to tell me if there are snakes living on the property. Maybe he can let me know the best methods for keeping them from using my backyard as a hiding place or throughway so that Carmella will be safe to go out there without being bitten again. I took her out on the leash tonight and since it was too dark for me to see what was on the ground I didn't go very far from the driveway or let her get close to any bushes or high foliage of other types. She kept wanting to go into the back yard and seemed to hear something back there. I don't know what it was but was too leery to go look since it was around the same time of night that she was bitten. There's no telling what ghastly things might have been creeping (or slithering) around in the dark. (Cue spooky music).

Despite the fact that snakes can be pretty bad-tempered and defensive I think they are nonetheless beautiful animals. I've even got a few wearable snakes available for purchase in my jewelry shop on Etsy. These make wonderful gifts! Click on the photos for more details on each piece.

Sterling Silver Snake Bracelet with Genuine Emerald Eyes (Strong Medicine)

Abstract Snakes Intertwined Ring - Argentium Sterling and Fine Silver

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Snake-bitten Dog, Carmella, The Healing Continues
Carmella rested comfortably on my bed most of the day while I read, and took care of some Etsy business and then it was time for her dinner. She ate most of her food but still is a little reserved and her stomach isn't back to normal 100% just yet so she left a little in her bowl. She still has diarrhea, and is peeing alot more than she usually does. On her walk tonight she must have gone 4 times and I don't mean a little bit each time; but more like 4 bladders-ful! Hopefully that is a good thing and means she's getting rid of excess fluid. The vet did say she might have blood in her urine and that was normal; a way of flushing fluid and dead blood cells out.

Luckily her hind leg looks less purple today. The rest seems to be paying off. I think I see hair growing back where they shaved her too. I removed the bandage on her front leg this morning where they had had the IV. Both front legs have patches of hair missing. The left from the IV they gave her at the emergency clinic, and the right from that given at Dr. Norwood's office. There's some bruising on the left "forearm" leg.

It is encouraging that the color seems to be returning to normal in the leg that was bitten by the Copperheads, so maybe she'll be lucky and not have any necrosis. That odd dark vein is still visible though.

After dinner Carmella stretched out on the floor in the kitchen, chewed on one of her steak bones, then sacked out again to sleep some more.

I think the whole ordeal has made her exhausted. I have been pretty tired myself, so I can imagine how tired she must be after the assault upon her body.

Today I received a product I ha ordered earlier this month that is a newly developed probiotic for her breath called EvoraPet.

I first heard about EvoraPet on a TV infomercial. There are alot of products on TV that I don't order because they seem kind of iffy, but this one seemed plausible, so I took a look at their website; and read more about it and looked to see what people were posting about it, then also did some searching in other places online. Somebody was even giving away a box on their blog Is There A Bathroom on This Ship. I signed up but didn't win.  Most reviews were favorable and I did not find any reports of negative side effects. For further information go to
They have two 800 numbers; (866) 998-9935 and (877) 803-2624 Ext. 251

It only costs $14.95 plus shipping for a 60 day supply (for a limited time; usually that price is for just 30 days' supply), and since Carmella seems to be prone to bad breath I decided to give it a try. It's most likely better than having to rub her teeth and gums with anti-plaque mouthwash every few days (which only works temporarily). Most people seemed to notice an improvement in their dog or cat's breath and whiter teeth in anywhere from a few days to a month.

The beneficial bacteria used in this mixture is supposed to be specifically to balance mouth bacteria unlike those longer-known vaieties that work on the digstive tract.

Inside the container is a small scoop and yellowish sort of pale peach-colored powder. The directions say to take that pre-measured dosage and then sprinkle it on the dog's (or cat's) food once a day. The beneficial bacteria act the same way in this same dosage for any size animal, and start to crowd out the potentially harmful bacteria that cause bad breath, dental problems, or gum disease. It will be very interesting to see whether it really does work as well as it claims. If so then it will be very helpful to my readers who have dogs and/or cats. If it is effective it sure beats having Carmella's teeth cleaned every year. Last year I had that done and it was expensive and with all the other medical expenses I'm struggling to pay off for Carmella's medical care it would be nice to find an alternative that is cheaper, works just as well, and doesn't requre that she go under general anesthesia!

Tomorrow night I will give this to her at dinner, and will keep you posted over the next few weeks on how it goes and if/when I notice any improvement. As a control, I'll take pictures of her teeth tomorrow for comparison. They don't look too bad currently but might have some yellowing in some areas. Her breath right now is not the worst its been but it's not great and if she breathes on me it definitely stinks!

If you would like to help Carmella, this adorable special needs dog please consider starting your holiday shopping in my Etsy jewelry shop; Giftbearer and for jewelry or craft supplies; GiftbearerSupply , use the donation button at the top righthand side, or purchase a little banner ad on my blog where it says "Are you in my Top Spots", through Scratchback. Thanks for your support of my work and of Carmella.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Carmella Comes Home!
 Carmella is home and feeling much better. Her leg is purple but the swelling is not near as bad as before. It looks as though the snake venom went all the way up her thigh to her stomach.
 She still has loose stools but is eating again and drinking plenty of water, and she has much more energy although actually seems calmer than she usually is, content to lounge around on my bed.  She has jumped up to listen to something outside the window once or twice but doesn't seem on pins and needles at every sound as she usually is.

 She spent some time in the kitchen earlier this evening chewing on a bone and I can tell that she knows the worst is over. The purple bandage on her right front leg is where they had the IV. That bandage can come off tomorrow.
I don't know how long it will take for all thr bruising to go away, but the vet wants to check her again in a week.
I noticed that a vein or artery is showing very dark through her skin on her inner thigh. It's visible in the picture above.

The company that was supposed to come out yesterday to look for the snakes is coming on Monday instead because the man who was assigned got tied up removing bats from a elderly woman's house on Thursday. I had hoped he could have the nesting areas identified before Carmella came home. So far I have not seen any when I've looked around myelf but they could be somewhere I can't see like the big burrow underneath the width of the back porch that some other animal made. Just in case, I am keeping a close eye on her and taking her out on the leash until the guy comes to inspect.
 Carmella will be on 4 medications every 12 hours for awhile;
* Prednisone (20mgs)

* Ciprofloxacin (250 mgs.; 1/2 tablet (125mg. every 12 hours)

* Cephalexin (500 mgs.; 2 Tablets every 12 hours)

*  Metronidazole (500 mgs. every 12 hours)

Eek! After the emergency visit Monday night and treatment overnight for 3 days at her regular vet's, the bill is somewhere around $1,500 already. I was just beginning to make a dent in her previous medical bills when this emergency happened.

If you would like to help her there are several ways to do that;

* Purchase one of the ad spots through Scratchback on my blog in the sidebar

* Use the Donate To Carmella button at the top; donate via Paypal

* Purchase Jewelry from Giftbearer

* Purchase jewelry supplies/craft supplies from  GiftbearerSupply

The holidays are coming up and I have lots of variety in both Etsy online shops to choose from be it a piece of finished jewelry or something to help you create finished jewelry or other crafts. I make a point of offering alot of one of a kind and limited stock items.

I found this video on YouTube that might be helpful to those of you who have animals. It is the season for these venomous snakes to be restless and with the weather changing these seem to be more on edge and more likely to bite.

The dog in the first video was bitten by a rattlesnake, not a copperhead, but the clip is interesting also because apparently someone has developed a vaccine to help protect dogs from these bites.

The dogs n these videos below were bitten by a copperheads;

There is a product I found out about that is supposed to repel snakes from your yard called Snake Away;

Here's another;

I don't know whether these work or not but they might.

Some people claim that moth balls repel snakes but I can't stand the smell of moth balls!

I found this video on snake repellents which says the strong smell in some of these confuses the snakes; makes one that is supposed to be eco-friendly and safe for humans and pets.

Carmella has been sleeping soundly tonight while I've been on the computer and researching on Youtube.

I'll continue to keep you posted on her recovery.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Carmella's Snake Bite Update

One of the vet techs at Dr. Norwood's office called me back to let me know that Carmella is doing better today. She said she was glad to see her alive when she came into work today and that it was a good thing that the bites were as far as possible from her heart. She has much more energy today and was able to get up to go to the bathroom outside.

Her inner thigh is all black because of bruising but so far no flesh has fallen off.  The swelling has gone down almost to normal after the Prednisone they gave her.

She is not eating though and has diarrhea so they are going to try to feed her by hand with some special high nutrient food. They think maybe the poison from the snakes could be affecting her digestive tract.

This dog truly has nine lives!

Tomorrow a company called Rid-a-Critter  which offers a free assessment is sending out somebody to look at the yard and see if they can find any snakes or identify what holes they might be using. The woman on the phone told me that this time of year they may not even stay in dens if they do have them and they are on the move so there's no guarantee they'll still be here when they look and they might have just been passing through. I hope there is something they can do which will prevent them from coming into the yard so Carmella will be safe and it won't happen again. Maybe they can also address my squirrel problem. They have been gnawing the wood near the roof of my house at odd hours of the morning and night.

I need to make alot more sales this month because although the pet insurance should cover a good bit of the recent vet bills it could take awhile to be reimbursed and it doesn't cover it all.

Currently I'm working on a new Budding Vine bracelet and a few other pieces but with all the stuff related to this emergency that needs doing I literally haven't had time to work on much.

I miss Carmella and look forward to when she comes home; if all goes well, before the weekend.
Carmella is Bitten by Nest of Copperheads

Monday night I let Carmella out in the back yard as I usually do before turning in for the night so that she could go to the bathroom. She was out there for about 15 minutes and had not come back to the door yet, so I called her to see if she was finished. She came to the back door a little more slowly than usual. Anybody who knows Carmella knows she never does anything slowly, and usually runs back inside at top speed.

As she entered the livingroom I noticed she was limping and upon closer inspection I saw that her back leg was very swollen, so much that the dewclaw on that leg stuck out. Her leg looked blown up like a balloon animal. At first I thought she had broken it, but then I saw two little puncture marks starting to bleed a few inches above the paw on the side of her leg and that's when I realized it must have been a snake bite.

Within about 10 minutes her paw was also bleeding. It was about 11:00 PM and Carmella's regular vet's office was closed. The only option was to take her to the one emergency vet in Dekalb County, and since I don't have a car and couldn't think of anybody to call at that late hour, I called the emergency clinic to confirm that I should bring her in, then called a taxi. I never know how long it will take to get a taxi late at night but  think the fact that it was a week day worked to my advantage. Had it been on the weekend it might have taken alot longer for one to arrive.

Even so, it probably took about a half-hour  and by that time Carmella was bleeding all over the kitchen floor and was starting to pant and whimper. What was coming out was more plasma than blood and it was fairly sticky. I was worried that she might collapse before a cab showed up so I called the emergency clinic back to see if they knew of any vet that made house-calls just in case things got critical and we didn't have time to get there.

The woman on the phone did locate the name of one vet but she wasn't sure if she worked late at night or not. I was hoping I wouldn't need to use that option and that we'd get to the clinic in time.

Carmella's leg was so painful I couldn't even wrap it in a T-shirt to keep dirt out of the wound.

We arrived at the emergency clinic and it seemed surprisingly quiet. There was just one dog in there other than Carmella, but it was a pretty lengthy process and after I'd filled out the paperwork Carmella and I waited for some time in a room before we finally saw the vet. Carmella was still in alot of pain and I finally had to go find someone to ask that they give her something for that. All I could think of was how the venom was still surging through her body out of control.

I think it took about 2 hours before she got any treatment after they'd prepared 3 different written quotes. Then they took her in the back area to clean the wounds, check to see how quickly her blood was clotting, give her pain medication, and some fluids under her skin.

She started whimpering when they shaved that hair on the leg where she had been bitten. The vet explained that it looked as though she had multiple bites between her toes as well as on her leg; some on both sides of the leg, and that most likely she had stepped in a nest of baby Copperheads because this is the time of year for them, and the babies tend to release all their venom unlike adults that only release a controlled amount. She said for that reason being bitten by baby snakes was worse.

Apparently there had been quite a few cases coming into the emergency clinic recently. Carmella fared better than smaller dogs because of the ratio of body weight to venom even though she probably had alot of venom in her. Even so, that was not a huge consolation because the full extent of the venom's effects would not be known until after a few days had passed. Among the risks are possible necrosis (tissue death), clotting problems, need for plasma transfusions, loss of function in the area bitten, and a whole host of other effects.

Neither human nor animal emergency departments use anti-venom for Copperheads much anymore because the side effects are almost worse than the venom. Pretty much all they can do is supportive care and hope for the best. There is no real way to prevent the effects of the venom and each dog reacts differently. Some recover completely without any necrosis, whereas others have some scarring, and still others may be severely impacted with big chunks of flesh falling off and need skin grafts to repair the damage.

The emergency clinic closes at 8:00 AM and since I knew we would need to go to Carmella's regular vet in the morning I figured it wasn't worth taking a cab back home and coming back at 8:00 to pivk her up and home again in another cab, as the faire was about $22.00 each way! I had this vet at the emergency clinic do what she could to get Carmella through the night safely and then planned to get a few hours of sleep before heading off to Dr. Norwood's office in the morning. Carmella was still in pain after she'd been given some medication and we got back home around 4 AM. She didn't want to lie down and was whimpering for the rest of the night, but finally I think we both got about 2 hours of sleep before Dr. Norwood's office opened.

When I woke up and it was quiet I tiptoed to the kitchen to check on her and make sure she was still breathing. She was but she seemed to be breathing more shallowly than usual. Knowing that somehow I was going to have to get her back into a taxi to go the the vet I slowly woke her although I hated to do that since while asleep was the only time she was not in pain. I got her to reluctantly drink a little yogurt juice (one of her favorite treats), and got the leash to try to give her time to go to the bathroom. Luckily she did get up and hobbled on three legs outside with me, peed, and came back inside. I took her out the front because I was pretty sure there wouldn't be any snakes out there near the driveway.

When I put her back inside I called the taxi and since it would be 15 minutes or so before we would be picked up I took a stick and went out the back way by myself to see if I could find where the snakes were living or whether I could find any dead snakes. I looked at nearly every corner of the yard except a pile of sticks and the outer edge near the fence on the opposite side, but saw no trace of them. Knowing Carmella I wouldn't be surprised if she ate them after they bit her. She has a strong predatory instinct and I have seen her kill small animals in about two bites and then quickly wolf them down before anyone could get them away from her; even squirrels, birds, and possoms.

I may need to find an expert to locate the den and remove them if she did not kill/eat them because I'm concerned it might happen again. It's worrisome that they may not be gone. There are a few holes in the yard; one big one under the house, and smaller ones in a few other areas of the yard where they could be hiding.

When we arrived at Dr. Norwood's office I couldn't get her to get out of the car, so the male vet tech who works there had to come out and carry her into the office. We went into a room right away and it wasn't long before several staff were in there and then Dr. Norwood came in to take a look at her.

He was very concerned; more so even than the emergency vet, and he said he thought it would be a good idea to hospitalize her and treat her aggressively with intrvenous fluids, antibotics, and prednisone. I'm not a big fan of prednisone but probably short-term it won't do Carmella any harm and it might get the swelling down more quickly. The swelling in her leg really looks extreme. If it got any worse I'd worry it would burst, and that wouldn't be good at all.

Dr. Norwood reiterated what the other vet had said about what could happen over the next few days and said that if she ends up needing a plasma transfusion they will have to take her to the emergency clinic at night to have that done because his clinic doesn't generally keep plasma on hand. It's a small office and doesn't have as many medical supplies as the larger vet's offices in town. I also recommended calling Dr. Muller at Briarcliff Animal Clinic if that ended up being necessary. That way maybe they could give or sell Dr. Norwood  the plasma to take back to his office and Carmella wouldn't have to get in and out of a car again.

I'm hoping that there won't be any complications or permanent tissue damage and that she will start healing now that she is under 24 hour care.

If everything goes well she should be ready to come home on Friday, and they'll send her home with some oral medications to continue here.

The house feels empty without Carmella, my little buddy. I'm not getting much sleep tonight. Hopefully I'll have some news tomorrow about how she's doing. To keep myself occupied I created a treasury list on snakes. Craftcult doesn't seem to be working to post it here directly, so here's a link;