Gudrun Mastriano was walking with her dog Dante in a park in Kissimmee, Florida when she saw a snake. Mastriano didn’t realize that the snake was a cottonmouth snake, a venomous snake that can have a potentially lethal bite. Luckily for Mastriano, her dog Dante sensed the danger and stepped into action before the snake could harm her.
Dante pulled the dog away from Mastriano’s feet. The snake retaliated against Dante, biting him on his snout and foot. Dante quickly became seriously ill from the venom. His head and paws began to swell and he had several open wounds. He was in serious danger of dying. When Dante arrived at the animal hospital he was given antivenin and blood transfusions to fight the venom. Although out of the woods he still had severe wounds and tissue damage.
Dante had several open wounds from the attack; including a large one on his neck, one on his foot and damage on the inside of his mouth. The animal hospital referred Dante to the SPCA animal hospital in Lakeland, Florida to help with the healing of his wounds. The animal hospital in Lakeland had just installed a hyperbaric chamber last week. Dante was the first patient to use the new equipment. Hyperbaric treatments can help reduce swelling, control infections and stimulate new blood vessel formation in healing tissues. He has received several sessions in the chamber for about an hour each time. The treatment has helped him recover at a much faster rate.
Mastriano is thankful for Dante’s actions, “It could have been me,” she said. She is also thankful that she was able to afford the medical expenses to save Dante in return. The initial emergency care cost several thousand dollars and she hates to think what would’ve happened if she had been unable to afford the treatment, “He saved my life. Then I’d have to tell him I’m sorry, but I don’t have the money to take care of the dog. I think that’s so wrong.”
Dante’s wounds will take time to heal and Dr. Boyd Harrell says that Dante will likely have permanent scaring from the attack. “There’s still a lot of what we call necrosis, or tissue death,” Harrell said. Thanks to the hyperbaric treatment Dante is feeling better and is able to walk and eat normally again.