Kings Mountain woman's Yorkshire terrier dies after snake bite

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. — Jenifer Bowman is still mourning her 9-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Rudy.

He was bit by snake this month by her family’s barn in Kings Mountain.

“I’m in total shock that he's gone, and my heart is broken,” Bowman said.

Bowman said Rudy was bit in the shoulder.

“I called the emergency vet and said, ‘I think my dog has been bit by a snake,’” Bowman said.

She said her dog’s condition worsened, and he only survived 23 hours.

“Now, after this has happened, one thing we make sure we do is we go out, go through the area before our grandkids go so they don't come up to one suddenly,” Bowman said.

Dr. Kimberly Bishop, with Total Bond Veterinary Hospital in northwest Charlotte, said it’s rare for dogs to die from a snake bite. Most bites can be treated with medications and antibiotic.

“There is an anti-venom available, but it's really expensive -- about $800 to $1,000 per bottle. Depending on the size of the dog, it could range from one to three or four bottles needed in a venomous snake situation, so most practices don’t carry it,” Bishop said.

Channel 9 was told copperhead bites are usually not a life-threatening situation and veterinary offices don't carry the anti-venom because it’s expensive and expires quickly.

Dogs should heal from a snake bite within one to two weeks.

In her four-year career, Bishop said no dogs she has treated have died from a bite.

In the worst-case scenario, “it could have been a one-in-a-million chance and got the venom directly into a vein,” she said.