‘It was a close call’: In Connecticut, 2 dogs were bitten by a rattlesnake — and nearly died

“Listo had about another hour left to live.”

Two dogs outside Hartford, Connecticut, are lucky to be alive after suffering near-death experiences spurred by venomous rattlesnake bites.

Bob Murray, of Glastonbury, went far into the wooded area of his yard a week ago to figure out what his two dogs were barking at when he discovered a 5-foot timber rattlesnake coiled up and ready to strike, he told The Hartford Courant.

He shooed the dogs away but then realized the snake had already attacked. Both of his dogs — Tanner, a 3-year-old Vizsla, and Listo, a 10-year-old Miniature Pinscher mix — had been bitten in the face by the venomous snake.


“I didn’t think about myself, I thought about the dogs,” Murray said.

Tanner soon threw up, and Listo began shaking and spitting blood, he told the newspaper.

The Murrays were intimately aware of just how quickly they needed to act: Seven years ago, their now-late dog Tor, another Vizsla, was bitten by a rattlesnake after stepping on a rattlesnake den near their home, according to the Courant.

Tor made it, but Murray and his wife, Lynn, remember well the challenge of tracking down a veterinarian that carried anti-venom. The couple ended up finding it at Tufts Veterinary in Massachusetts.

For Tanner and Listo, the Murrays found a facility with the antidote closer to home — Pieper Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Middletown.

In a Facebook post last Friday, the hospital recalled how the two dogs were rushed into the emergency room and were immediately given anti-venom and medications to stabilize them.

“Listo’s face and neck were swelling so rapidly that it was closing off his windpipe, and he underwent an emergency tracheostomy to help him breathe,” the post says.

According to the Courant, the bites happened around 1:15 p.m. Both dogs were at the hospital by 2:30 p.m.

“It was a close call,” Bob Murray said. “Listo had about another hour left to live.”


Ultimately, both dogs pulled through and stayed at the hospital before heading home by Saturday.

“Over the next several days both dogs stayed with us for around-the-clock monitoring and treatment as they fought through the after-effects of the snake venom,” the hospital wrote in its post. “The severe swelling slowly began to fade, and eventually both dogs were able to return to their family — an extremely lucky outcome!”

Both dogs were still recuperating on Monday, the Courant reported.

“Most people don’t realize there are rattlesnakes in Connecticut,” Pieper Veterinary spokeswoman Jesse Ferguson told the newspaper. “Dogs and cats usually don’t survive without the anti-venom.”

According to the hospital, timber rattlesnakes are actually native to the Nutmeg State but are classified as an endangered species.

“Most hospitals do NOT carry anti-venom, so always be aware when out with your pets during the summer – we see snake bites every year, and not all dogs are as lucky as Tanner and Listo,” the hospital said. “Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem, so it’s important to give them space so we can co-exist peacefully!”

Rattlesnakes are active in Connecticut from about mid-April until October, according to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.


Bob Murray told the Courant the rattlesnake that bit his dogs was captured by authorities, examined, and placed back inside its den.

After the Murrays’ previous dog Tor was bitten by a rattlesnake, the couple was acutely aware of the impact the expense of veterinary care could have on families and so they created a large trust in their will through Tufts Veterinary to assist senior citizens with vet bills, according to the newspaper.

The couple said they consider themselves lucky to be able to pay the $15,000 bill for the latest incident. Tor’s bills totaled $10,000 at the time.

“Fortunately, we had the money,” Bob Murray said.

The Murrays’ two dogs have been trained for competitions, and Listo has a knack for dancing with Lynn Murray, especially to the Beach Boys classic, “I Get Around,” the Courant reports.


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