NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. - In North Fort Myers, a cute little dog runs across a big bad snake... a deadly coral snake. In an instant, Skipper the puppy was fighting the effects of deadly poison. But Skipper's number wasn't up just yet.
If you take a look at Skipper, an 8-month old schnoodle mix today, and he's acting just like any other healthy, happy puppy. But just days ago, the little guy was knocking on death's door after going head-to-head with a lethal coral snake.
"I'd say three minutes after he was bit, we were noticing, there was something wrong," owner Angela Ower said of Thursday's incident.
Ower immediately rushed Skipper to her veterinarian, and then another...neither able to offer the anti-venin treatment needed to save his life.
"By 7 o'clock the following morning, he was urinating all over himself, and he couldn't move at all. His hind legs were paralyzed," Ower said.
Desperate for help as precious time ticked away, Ower took Skipper to a third vet, and Dr. Mary Locicero went to work. But even she thought Skipper wouldn't make it.
"It's a progressive paralysis. and so once it reaches the chest and the lungs, they can't breathe, and they have to be put on a ventilator. Usually by that time, they don't survive it," Locicero said Wednesday.
The only cure, anti-venin, was nowhere to be found. The closest vial was located in Miami.
"I just started crying, I really thought that my dog was going to die," Ower said.
But then came a twist of fate, when a couple in the vet waiting room started making calls for Skipper. They were able to get a hold of the anti-venin needed at a Naples hospital. That ultimately gave Locicero the tools needed to change the odds, and save Skipper's life.
"That's amazing, he's my miracle dog," Ower said.
Wednesday marks the first day Skipper was able to walk on his own. Since the initial bite, the schnoodle's hind legs were paralyzed. While he's still sleeping off his scuffle with the coral snake, he is expected to fully recover.