A mercy dash from Western Australia to the Northern Territory has saved the life of a beloved pet dog bitten by a mulga snake. Pania the dog came off second best after a tangle with the snake on Tuesday afternoon at a remote Indigenous community, west of Docker River. The nearest veterinarian was nearly 700 kilometres away at Alice Springs.
Debbie Osborne from the Alice Springs Veterinary Hospital says she was alerted by the dog's owner that she was starting the nine-hour drive to the Red Centre town. Ms Osbourne says the dog was in poor condition when it arrived at the clinic around 4.30am. "[The dog] was not standing ... shallow breathing and in quite a bad way," she said. Pania, though, had managed to kill the snake. "Because the snake was dead, we told them to bring the snake in so we could get a positive on it," Ms Osborne said.
"What was important was for the vet to get the snake identified first, and then discuss what needed to be done." Local snake catcher Rex Neindorf arrived shortly afterwards ... identifying the dead snake as a King Brown (or Mulga Snake). "If it had been one of the more common Eastern or Western Browns, the dog would have been dead in half an hour," says Rex. "The venom of the King Brown is not as toxic."
"King Browns are actually a type of black snake so we have to use the black snake anti-venom to treat it," says Debbie. "The muscles will recover now that the anti-venom has [been administered] but the most important thing now is to protect her kidneys ... she's not out of the woods yet but it's looking hopeful."