It was a water moccasin vs. miniature pincher. It wasn't a fair fight, and the dog is in rough shape at a Kathleen Animal Hospital in Lakeland.
The dog was just trying to protect its owner and her family. Xena is the miniature pincher's name, and with all the bravado of a big dog, her owner credits Xena with saving her life and her kids' as well after taking several bites from the deadly snake.
Xena's had a rough couple of days. She took on that snake and the snake lost. But now, she's fighting to stay alive.
It happened Sunday in Jennifer Nelson's backyard. She heard their seven dogs sounding the alarm.
"I came around the corner, and I saw the snake," Nelson said. "It was coiled up right here, and all the dogs were barking and going crazy."
It was a deadly water moccasin.
"It was very, very agitated," said Nelson, as you might imagine with seven dogs barking at it.
She grabbed a shovel.
"And I turned it over, trying to cover the snake, so the kids could get the dogs away. I accidentally touched it, and it made it even madder, and it lunged at me," she said.
"It actually came for her, aggressively," said Dr. Derek Stansberry of the Kathleen Animal Hospital.
"And that's when Xena jumped in and attacked the snake," Nelson said, "like about six inches below where the head was. And so the snake just turned around and got her."
Nelson then clobbered the creature and went in to help Xena, who ran away yelping in pain.
"Right there is apparently where one of the bites caught her," pointed out Stansberry, as he noted the snake's fangs had made a direct hit to Xena's left eye.
"She's likely already blind in that eye," he said.
"She's very swollen, it hurts her to bend down to eat, so she has to be hand fed," Nelson said.
He also pointed out puncture wounds on the back of her head.
Stansberry said he keeps checking her heart rate because it dropped dangerously low Monday.
"This is just the IV catheter, like you get at the hospital," he said, pointing to a pink bandage and holding the IV in place on her paw.
They're pumping her with fluids to try to flush the poison out of her system.
The family prays Xena will pull through.
"She's a trooper," said Nelson confidently. "She's tough."
Xena's heartbeat and appetite were both improving late Monday.
They gave her plenty of anti-venom and hope she doesn't develop any kidney or liver problems. If she lives through the week, Stansberry is hopeful she should be good to go.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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