CHULA VISTA (CBS 8) - There was a big scare for a little dog in the South Bay who was out for a walk when it encountered a rattlesnake. While we humans know to run the other way, Mika didn't and paid a price that almost cost her life.
Six-year-old Mika is a lucky dog. Her owner did the right thing by rushing her to the vet.
Rattlesnake bites on pets are very common, especially during the summer months. Doctor Trevor Garb with the Pet Emergency and Specialty Center says they see on average three to five cases a day.
"By far the worst bites we see which are very rare in this area, but we do see them, sometimes two or three a season is the neurotoxic bite, where it paralyzes the dog's ability to breathe. Those dogs have to be seen immediately," Garb said.
Garb says Mika had some neurotoxic component when she came in. The Shih Tzu needed help with her breathing. Luckily, after four doses of the anti-venom, Mika was showing signs of improvement and will go home Friday.
Garb says there are ways to avoid getting bitten by a rattlesnake, like staying away from hiking areas and keeping your dogs on a leash, away from bushes. But if they do get bitten, do what Mika's owners did.
"The sooner we see that patient, the better chance we can counteract the effect," Garb said.
Garb says there are snake avoidance classes. These classes can actually teach your pooch exactly how to stay away from rattlesnakes.