Heroic German Shepherd Fights Off Rattlesnake, Endures Three Bites To Save Little Girl

PetMD Editorial
Updated: June 01, 2016
Published: May 16, 2016
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When an eastern diamondback rattlesnake was dangerously close to a 7-year-old girl in a yard in Tampa, Fla., the family's dog, a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Haus, jumped in to save the day.    

According to ABC News, the dog "stood his ground" against the venomous snake in the DeLuca family's backyard, ensuring the snake got nowhere near the child. Unfortunately, the dangerous predator—the largest venomous snake in North America—bit the brave pet three times in the leg. 

Badly injured and in pain, the dog was rushed by his family to the BluePearl Veterinary facility in Tampa, Fla.

"The injuries were quite extensive," says Dr. John Gicking, a certified care specialist who took care of Haus. "His entire right front leg was affected, as was his blood and kidneys. This was definitely a life-threatening situation."  

In order to save his life, doctors treated Haus with anti-venom, pain medications, IV fluids, and a red blood cell transfusion. Luckily, the prognosis for Haus is hopeful.

"The good news is, Haus is doing extremely well," Gicking tells petMD. "He's eating and walking like a champ. We've stopped the anti-venom and so far there are no problems. His blood work is improving every day."    

Haus will require follow-ups, including care for the swollen wounds on his leg, but Gicking is confident in Haus's ability to recover. "It's looking pretty likely that Haus won't suffer any long-term effects from the bites," he says.    

Haus's medical needs following the attack quickly added up for the DeLuca family, but thanks to a campaign on GoFundMe, donations poured in and more than doubled the requested amount to help Haus get back on his feet. (In fact, now that the family has gone over their goal, they are asking well-wishers to donate future funds to Heidi's Legacy Dog Rescue.) 

"It's been really nice to see people from all over the world support Haus," Gicking says.    

Pet parents should take precautions when dealing with snakes, Gicking tells us. "Pet parents should take care to avoid areas where there may be snakes," he says. "Also, if you know you live in an area where snakes are common, it's best to keep pets on a leash."    

Gicking says that the most important thing a pet parent can do if their dog or cat has been bitten is to seek emergency veterinary care immediately.

"That was the most important element in Haus's recovery—his owners rushed him to an emergency veterinarian right away so he could be treated with anti-venom as quickly as possible."  

Image via GoFundMe