More treatment helps dog bitten by snake

Dog's swelling goes down 7 inches in 2 days

Published On: Dec 07 2012 05:29:41 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 07 2012 09:19:48 PM EST
Before & after snake bite
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

One man's four-legged friend seems to be feeling even better Friday after another round of a treatment that's the first of its kind in Jacksonville.

Nettington, a 13-year-old golden retriever, was bitten by a water moccasin Monday and his face swelled up.

On Thursday, Nettington underwent hyperbaric oxygen treatment, a way of delivering a lot of oxygen, and was the first animal in Jacksonville to get the treatment.

Ready for a second treatment Friday, the dog climbed out of its cage, still swollen.

"I was shocked. I was like, are you serious? A water moccasin?" Nettington's owner, Claudio Lopez, said when he found out what happened to his dog. "I knew it was serious."

Dr. Susan Shelton, founder of St. Francis Animal Hospital in San Marco, had a solution, and in perfect timing. The medical director on Thursday had a hyperbaric oxygen chamber installed, the first of its kind in Jacksonville.

"It makes him feel better and it minimizes the amount of tissue damage that's going on in the area of the bite," Shelton said. "So he was bitten on his nose, and so his whole head was subject to swell. So we want to minimize the amount of damage the venom can do in that area."

After Nettington's treatment Thursday, the swelling in his face went down 4 inches.

The hyperbaric machine reduces swelling by delivering concentrated oxygen into damaged cells and tissue. After about 25 minutes, veterinarians let Nettington out Friday, and he lost another 3 inches in his face.

"For snake bites, eventually the swelling goes down, but that's pretty rapid," Shelton said.

Nettington will probably need to be treated a couple more times before he will be allowed to go home. And his owner is thrilled.

"One big relief, because there were times when I thought that he wasn't coming home," Lopez said.

"It's about making him feel good," Shelton said. "I'm glad that he feels better and does certainly look to me like he feels better than he has, but it's also about taking care of him and his family because his owners love him, and it makes you feel good, too, that they can feel better that he's getting the care that he needs."

It's care they're so thankful to receive.

"He's my best friend, he's my best friend," Lopez said.