Face off: Chloe the greyhound was bitten trying to protect her pups from this death adder. (ABC North Coast: Bruce MacKenzie)
A champion greyhound bitten by a death adder while defending her new litter of pups, has survived the ordeal after a veterinary team in northern New South Wales went to great lengths to get life saving antivenom.
Things looked grim for new mother Chloe, which raced under the name City Breeze, when she was brought into a vet surgery at Casino earlier this week.
Vet Liz Brown said many animals bitten by the deadly snake survive less than an hour.
“She started vomiting and shaking and she had a definite swelling on one of her front legs. So we knew she had been bitten,” she said.
But death adder bites are relatively rare, and an ampoule of antivenom costs $3,000 so most vets do not keep any on hand.
“One of the nurses spent quite a few hours ringing every hospital in the area trying to get them to sell us a vial, and of course hospital protocol is they won’t lend or sell,” Dr Brown said.
“We eventually sourced one straight from the manufacturer in Brisbane, so one of the girls headed up there and met a courier.”
The round trip took about four hours, but Chloe clung to life and has now recovered.
“Just lucky she didn’t develop the severe life-threatening effects of the snake bite, but she had definitely been bitten,” Dr Brown said.
“Death adders as a rule are extremely slow moving, they camouflage really well and strike extremely quickly. But greyhounds are so perceptive to movement she attacked and killed it.
“I’m sure she would have been protecting her pups because they were right there as well. She might have known the snake was there and grabbed it.”
Vet Liz Brown with Chloe the greyhound and her owner Dean Casey. (ABC North Coast: Bruce MacKenzie)
Owner Dean Casey said Chloe had always been a family favourite, not least because she won 19 of 62 starts during her racing career.
“She’s perfect,” he said.
“Good natured, a good racer, and hopefully a good mum now.”