Durban - A Westville pet, named Jasper, has lived to see another day, despite his ordeal of having been bitten by a mamba at home this week.
Commenting on the incident Durban snake man, Nick Evans, said he received a call from Jasper’s owner on Tuesday, informing him that the dog had bitten a snake but she was unsure what snake it was.
“A few months ago, I had removed a Black Mamba from her wine rack, so she was paranoid. When I saw the picture she had sent me, I saw that it was a black mamba,” he said.
Evans said he contacted the woman and Jasper seemed fine however 20 minutes later he passed out.
“In most of the cases like these that I've been called about, the dogs are usually dead or just about dead by this time. I told her to get him to the nearest vet ASAP just in case. A few minutes later, she called me back and said something was wrong. He was not himself,” he said.
Jasper was strong enough to make it into the car and walked into the local veterinary clinic but the snake’s neurotoxic venom had taken effect and Jasper collapsed.
Evans rushed to the vet where he met Jasper’s distressed owner.
“I contacted Phezulu Safari Park’s Tristan Dickerson who encountered something similar when his dog was bitten a while back so he would know which vet had the anti venom,” Evans said.
With time being of the essence, Evans arrived at the vet where Jasper was and found him being administered a drip.
Evans said Jasper’s eyes were bulging out and he did not look alive.
“To my relief, Westville vet had antivenom, so I raced over there to collect it. I drove like I have never driven before. I picked up two vials there and raced back to Maryvale vet where Dr Young quickly gave Jasper, who was unconscious, the antivenom, intravenously,” he said.
Thirty nerve wracking minutes later and Jasper’s condition had not improved.
Evans then contacted snake bite specialist, Arno Naude, in Pretoria, who advised him of what would happen next.
“He said giving him more anti venom would cause more harm as long as the vet was prepared for the possibility of an allergic reaction to the anti venom. Although he said if he had no reaction to the first two, this was extremely unlikely,” he said.
Evans said before he contacted the vet at Westville, he contacted a trauma doctor at Netcare St Augustine’s.
“Dr Kevin McEwen is also a specialist in the field of snake bites and instructed me to fetch two more vials from him. I did. When I arrived, he was waiting for me at the entrance and I raced back to Jasper,” he said.
When he arrived, more anti venom was administered to Jasper who 20 minutes later started to breath on his own.
“They were slow, faint breaths, but this was a real confidence booster for us. Twice though, he stopped breathing. The second time, Dr Young had just popped into the shop next door, and when he stopped breathing I panicked. I breathed into the tube, going down Jasper's throat, saw his lungs inflate, and waited. But they did not inflate again. I breathed in again, and then ran to call Dr Young. We got him breathing again,” Evans said.
Later in the day, Jasper’s condition began to improve and the colour returned to his mouth.
The vet took Jasper home with him, in a bid to monitor him and in the morning, he found Jasper sitting up on his own.
Evans said he could not believe the perky little dog’s recovery.
“Jasper showed tremendous character and an awe-inspiring fighting attitude to pull through this. The odds were against him, but he made it. What an amazing little dog. I still cannot believe he survived! I'm going to visit him later, and can't wait!” Evans said.
Evans thanked each person for their valuable contribution to saving Jasper’s life.