My Miracle Boy, Alfie by Andrea Busfield
I haven’t lived in the UK for more than 15 years and, being a dog owner, the idea of battling the great British weather every day just to go for a walk is something that is likely keep me away for the next 15. That’s why one of the best things about living in Cyprus is the near-all-year-round sunshine.
One of theworst things is the blunt-nosed viper.
Five years ago, my boy Alfie was bitten by one of these snakes while we were out walking. We were about a half a mile from the car, down a dirt track, deep in the hills, and Alfie saw a viper in the grass that he decided to play with. This was not a good idea.
The snakebit Alfie’s left leg. The pain was immediate, the snake slithered away andAlfie came limping back to me. Thankfully, I had a snake kit in my bag, whichbought us valuable time. I injected him with Dexamethasone in the fleshy muscle of histhigh and carried him back to the car, because less movement means lesscirculation for the poison to move around my dog’s system.
Driving back to the village, in something of a panic, Icalled my vet. It was about 8am and he assured me he was on his way to theclinic. Once we both got there, Alfie was whisked away and given emergency fluidsand anti-venom medicine.
“What next?” I asked my friend and veterinary nurse, Teresa.
The next 24 hours were crucial for Alfie. He stayedovernight at the clinic and when I checked in with Teresa, she said she wasn’tsure if he was going to make it as his heart rate was off the scale. But Alfiedid make it. And against the odds; seven dogs had already died of viper bitesthat spring.
Unfortunately, Alfie’s trauma didn’t end there. Because the poison kills the flesh, he needed pretty extensive surgery. They had to cut away the affected area to the bone. Alfie then needed daily washes and rebandaging to keep away infection until he had healed enough to take a skin graft.
It took Alfie months to heal properly. But this wiry little lad, who has always lived on his nerves, turned out to be a real bruiser. He had more fight in him than I could have ever hoped or imagined and today he is a happy, bouncy eight-year-old with only a scar on his left leg to tell of his ordeal.
As we still walk on the same track that nearly ended Alfie’slife, because snakes get everywhere here – even in your gardens and outhouses –I always carry a snake kit with me, no matter the season.
But I also carry more than Dexamethasone with me these days– thanks to Aqueos.
Along with treats and anti-snake-bite paraphernalia in my dog-walking bum bag, I carry Aqueos’ First Aid Spray, the Spray on Plaster and Blood Stop.
The Blood Stop is especially helpful as one of my otherdogs, Walter Pickle, was diagnosed with ehrlichia when I first got him; atick-borne disease that can result in excessive bleeding from minor wounds.Although Walter was successfully treated for ehrlichia, I take no chances whenwe are out.
Of course, readers of this blog will know that I also have two horses and the first aid kit comes in extremely handy at the stables as well. In fact, only today I used the Spray on Plaster on my boy Lucky because being the super-thin-skinned, gorgeously-handsome thoroughbred that he is he managed to scrape himself along the croup while rolling and as we get a lot of flies in Cyprus – thanks to our clement weather – I’d prefer them not to feast on my horse’s flesh (or worse). For this reason alone, the spray-on plaster is a godsend as it keeps the wound clean, protected and fly-free for the time it takes to heal.
As it was only a superficial scrape, Lucky will be fine in aday or two, but it only takes a second for flies to get in and cause their ownhorror stories, so again I take no chances. And neither should you.
Stay safe everyone and keep your loved ones even safer.