Deadly fight: Catherine Lynch says River the red cattle dog is responding well to treatment after being bitten by a brown snake.
THE bravery of a red cattle dog has been credited with saving the lives of two Ipswich children in Australia from the bite of a highly venomous eastern brown snake.
River, an 18-month-old bitch, jumped between the rearing snake and the children as they ran towards a swing set in the front yard of their Coalfalls home on Saturday morning.
Owner Catherine Lynch said River, who killed the snake, has undergone more than $2000 worth of anti-venom treatment at a vets at Booval after being bitten on a back leg.
Ms Lynch said her children – Kaylee, 2, and Michelle, 7 – had been traumatised by the incident.
She said it was a timely reminder for parents to check their yards for snakes before allowing children out to play.
“They’re obviously upset about the dog,” said the naturopath, who operates from Ace Massage Clinic in the Old Flour Mill in Brisbane St.
“The eldest has been asking a lot of questions about what happened.
“It’s a lesson for all us of what can happen and how easily it can happen.
“It happened in our front yard as we were doing a bit of gardening and the kids were going outside to play.
“The dog shot out and jumped in front of the snake before it could get to the kids.
“The heat must have stirred up the snake.
“It was a juvenile one about 70cm long.
“We took it along to the vets so they could identify it and give River the right treatment.
“My partner (Ben) and I are very grateful the dog got in first because it could have been a lot worse.
“In my opinion, River probably saved their lives.”
Snake catcher Matt Harley said brown snakes, which can grow up to 1.5m long and are coloured from tan to almost black, are quick to defend themselves compared with other snakes.
“Being 70cm long, it was probably a relatively young snake in its first year, but even at that age they can cause fatalities,” he said.
“The last fatality from a brown snake was in Emerald in November last year.
“If you come across a snake, back off slowly.
“If you’re actually standing over it, stand still and move away as slowly as possible because it’s the movement that attracts their attention.”
He stressed first aid should be instigated immediately should anyone be bitten by a snake.
Queensland Health says “if a snake bite occurs, call 000 for an ambulance, use the pressure-immobilisation technique, and have the patient taken immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital”.
Ms Lynch said River was responding well to anti-venom treatment but the dog will stay at the vets until recovered.
“The vets will be keeping her for a while, but she will hopefully be home in a couple of days.”