Pup saves tots from snake

River the red cattle dog cross recovers from an eastern brown snake bite which she sustained after trying to save two children's lives.
River the red cattle dog cross recovers from an eastern brown snake bite which she sustained after trying to save two children's lives. Claudia Baxter

SHE is only 18 months old and has a tendency to drool, but River the red cattle dog has been hailed a true Ipswich hero.

The family pet is on the mend after saving two young children from an aggressive eastern brown snake in the front yard of her Coalfalls home on Saturday morning.

River responded to the children's screams, killing the 70cm snake within minutes, something owner Catherine Lynch said had probably saved her daughters, Michelle, 7, and Kaylee, 2, from being bitten.

"They were going out to play on the swings and Michelle got two steps out the door and yelled out 'snake'," Ms Lynch said.

"As soon as she yelled, the dog bolted out, grabbed the snake and killed it.

"I think it was probably Michelle's tone of voice, River picked up that something wasn't right and she didn't hesitate."

Unfortunately, River's heroic act wasn't without consequence, with the snake managing to inflict a bite before succumbing to the protective pooch.

Having not seen the bite, Ms Lynch and her partner Ben checked the dog for puncture wounds but when none were found and River seemed healthy, the family retired back to the house for a well-earned rest.

About 12 hours later it became clear River had been bitten.

After retrieving the offending snake from the rubbish bin, for identification, the family rushed the brave dog to the Booval Vet Hospital for treatment.

Veterinarian Jason Wendt said had River not got to the surgery on Saturday, she wouldn't have survived the night.

More than two days later, River is making a remarkable recovery.

"She's not normal yet, she still has a reduced swallow response and tires fast," Dr Wendt said.

"That's fairly normal after a fairly hard hit from a snake."

Dr Wendt urged pet owners to seek help whenever their pets had an encounter with a snake.

"Take the dog to the vet regardless," he said.

"We probably see puncture wounds in less than 10% of the snake bites we treat.

"Even if a dog looks totally normal we can do a blood clot test."

River remains on a drip at the Booval clinic but is expected to go home in the next two days, where she can expect to receive the royal treatment.

Topics:  booval eastern brown snake

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