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Denver dog recovering after rattlesnake bite

DENVER (KDVR) — A dog is recovering after being bit in the face by a rattlesnake.

On Tuesday, Austin Scheu said he was at work when his girlfriend, Olivia, called and said their dog, Ahsoka, had been bitten by a rattlesnake while on a hike at Castlewood Canyon State Park. 

“She’s curious and loves to smell everything and is bouncing left and right,” Scheu said. “She probably heard something in a bush, put her nose in, and by the time it struck, she flew backwards.”

The snake struck the corner of Ahsoka’s left eye and the pupil, but Scheu said nothing was noticeable until they returned to the car.

“Her forehead looked like a balloon,” Scheu said. “At that point, it was crisis mode. Olivia did everything she needed to do, called the vet, found one with one had anti-venom and she got to the hospital 15 minutes after that.”  

Scheu said Ahsoka spent the night there after receiving anti-venom and antibiotics.  

“She recovered overnight, the swelling went down. They didn’t say any particular reason, maybe it was just her wanting to get better. Maybe we just got lucky,” Scheu said. “I was just happy she was alive, okay and home.”

Scheu said they’re hoping Ahsoka makes a full recovery. (Courtesy: Austin Scheu)

Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald, a local veterinarian, said there are snake avoidance classes for dogs in Colorado as well as a rattlesnake vaccine, but his advice is to keep them close. He said rattlesnakes are usually found below 8,500-9,000 feet. 

“Keep your dog on a leash,” Dr. Fitzgerald said. “They love to go with us, but when we’re in areas we’re unfamiliar with, where we know there may be snakes, they need to be close to you.”

As for Ahsoka, Scheu said they’ll be taking it easy for the next week and hopes sharing their story will help other pet owners. 

“Recovery is till probably next Friday. She has minimal exercise which is going to be a headache, but we’re going to get through it,” Scheu said. “Small walks at a time and a lot of playtime at home.”  

A fundraiser has been set up to help with all of Ahsoka’s vet bills.  

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