Dog bitten by snake 'back to normal'

Swelling goes down immensely after hyperbaric oxygen treatment

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Nettington, a 13-year-old golden retriever that was bitten by a water moccasin last week and had severe swelling in his face, now looks like his old self.

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

His owner, Claudio Lopez, said Monday that Nettington is doing much better and his face is completely "back to normal."

"The sides of his lips are still a little saggy, but all in all he looks great," Lopez said.

Dr. Susan Shelton, founder of St. Francis Animal Hospital in San Marco, had hyperbaric oxygen chamber installed last week, the first of its kind in Jacksonville. It was perfect timing for Nettington.

"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.

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