DENVER (KDVR) — Snake bites are never fun, but for one rescue dog, a rattlesnake bite led to a scary situation.

Fenrir, a German shepherd, is now in a foster home after spending over three weeks with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. He had a run-in with a rattlesnake before he was surrendered because of the injury. Fenrir had been bit on his neck, leading to complications and continuous care requirements.

Within a few hours, Fenrir’s snout had at least doubled in size, and he was transferred to an emergency veterinary clinic for overnight care and supervision, the Humane Society said.

That was nowhere near the end of his medical journey.

Over the next three weeks, Fenrir fought for his life as veterinarians came to his aid with antivenom and other medications, placed a surgical drain, sedated him for multiple wound repairs and installed an IV, among other procedures.

After those long weeks, the rambunctious canine had more than enough shelter life, the Humane Society reported. Because of his complex medical history and personality, Fenrir was placed into a breed-specific rescue, where he is currently moving past his rattlesnake bite.

Immediate treatment needed for snake bites

According to the Veterinary Specialists of the Rockies, 80% of pets survive a snake bite if they receive treatment quickly. To do so, owners should be able to recognize early signs of a snake bite:

  • Sudden weakness or collapse, followed by your pet getting up normally
  • Trembling, shaking or involuntary muscle twitching
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Unsteadiness in their hind legs
  • Excessive salivation, drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Blood in their urine
  • Dilated pupils

Many times, snakes will bite dogs on their face, neck or front legs as the dog tries to interact with the snake. Check for pain or swelling while looking for bite wounds.

Experts warn pet owners not to attempt to catch or kill a snake that has attacked a pet. Veterinarians may ask owners what kind of snake bit their pet, but a snake is best left alone most of the time. If you suspect the snake is harmful, call animal control.

First aid for snakebite wounds on pets is similar to that on humans. Rinse the wound with water to remove some venom, if present, and elevate the wound above heart level so it’s less likely to spread venom throughout the animal’s system.

If your pet is not breathing, administer CPR.