ROCHESTER, Minn. - Jeff Eastman has been on many adventures with his 10-year-old black lab, Miss Molly. But good golly, what happened last week nearly brought an early end to their relationship.
Miss Molly found herself on the receiving end of a timber rattler attack. "She took two shots in the chest, by two rattlesnakes," Eastman said.
The attack happened last Wednesday south of Caledonia, as Eastman, Molly and another of Eastman's dogs, strolled on a farm Eastman owns.
Eastman heard the ominous rattling about the time Molly was bitten, but initially mistook the sound for bees. He soon realized what he and the dogs were up against, loaded Molly in his truck and headed for Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Service in Rochester.
Molly was going to need anti-venom, and quick. The pet hospital contacted the Mayo Clinic a few blocks away. Eastman arranged for payment, $5600 for two vials.
Two blood transfusions followed. Sunday night Molly was showing signs of improvement, though her front legs remained swollen.
Once harvested by the thousands, for bounties, from the bluffs of southeast Minnesota, timber rattlesnakes were declared a state threatened species in 1996.
A video on the website of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says attacks are rare. That said, a landowner was bitten last year and a hiker the year before that. Both received medical treatment and survived.
Including the anti-venom, Eastman estimates his vet bill has already reached $12,000.
Someone pointed out that he could buy a lot of dogs for that, "And I said, 'No you couldn't buy this one.'"
Miss Molly may have met a snake, but she has a prince of an owner.
UPDATE: Many KARE 11 viewers and Facebook followers have asked how they can help contribute to Miss Molly's medical bills. Eastman has requested that donations instead be sent to the Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital where rattlesnake venom is the focus of a new veterinary study.
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