Two Dogs Recovering After Being Bitten by Venomous Snake in Glastonbury

Listo and Tanner, two dogs from Glastonbury, are home from the hospital and are doing well after they each suffered snake bites to the face.

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Lynn and Bob Murray are holding their two dogs, Listo and Tanner, a little tighter. Both dogs are home recovering after being attacked by a venomous rattlesnake last week.

"Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I look over and I just say 'thank the lord that they are here," said Lynn Murray. "That they are with us."

Listo, a 10-year old Miniature Pinscher mix, and Tanner, a 3-year old Vizsla, were outside in the Glastonbury couple's backyard last week. Bob Murray said he let the dogs out around lunchtime last Tuesday. He was walking behind the dogs to close the gate when he noticed them barking.

"I went over and I heard the rattle and then I saw the rattlesnake," said Murray. "It was huge and he was all coiled up in an attack position. I took my cane and tried to get them back in."

Murray's wife, Lynn, came outside with a leash. They got the dogs inside and immediately realized that both dogs had been bitten in the face.

"We knew we had to get going immediately," said Murray.

The Murrays knew to act fast because they had experience with this kind of snake bite. About seven or eight years ago, a different dog was bit in the foot. They started calling hospitals to find a location with an anti-venom treatment in stock.

"Immediately- as fast as possible. That's the only way you can save their lives," said Lynn Murray. "If it is too long before they get the treatment, they are not going to make it."

The couple made their way to Pieper Veterinary in Middletown.

"Minutes can make the difference between life and death," confirmed Dr. Matthew Turner, the critical care doctor who treated Listo and Tanner. "I would say that was a very close call. Both of them had very severe clinical signs associated with it and it was a very bad place. Getting bit on the face is probably one of the worst places that a dog can be bit."

The dogs stayed in the hospital for days. They were given the anti-venom in addition to other treatments. The swelling forced doctors to perform an emergency tracheotomy on Listo.

Photos: Two Dogs Recovering After Being Attacked by Venomous Snake in Conn.

The hospital sees snake bites every year and not every dog is as lucky as Tanner and Listo. Dr. Turner said the couple's quick-thinking was critical.

Glastonbury Animal Control confirmed that it was a timber rattlesnake that bit the dogs. The snake was captured and released to a different location.

According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there are 12 species of snakes in Connecticut -- two species are venomous, including the timber rattlesnake. The timber rattlesnake is listed as an endangered species. There are two remnant populations of timber rattlesnake in northwest CT and in some central CT towns, including Glastonbury, according to CT DEEP.

"It is about finding a balance and understanding that there are people out there and there are snakes out there and both need their space and respect," said Brian Hess, with the CT DEEP. "The rattlesnakes are an important part of our natural ecosystem. Just once you see something like that just leaving it alone and understanding what it is."

Knowing that snakes can enter through small spaces, the Murrays bought a special fence in hopes of preventing future run-ins. Listo and Tanner were both released from the hospital and they are doing well.

The Murrays shared this message: "Be vigilant, be careful, and get help immediately." 

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