Yesterday afternoon Galileo came up from the field below the garden flicking his ear and clearly in pain.
I thought it must be Florence nibbling his ear – we’ve had potential cauliflower ears due to puppies before now.
But Galileo went very quiet. He got floppier and floppier over the course of the next few hours.
I eventually managed to reach a vet we didn’t know who could arrange to be at her surgery in a nearby town.
When we roused Galileo he couldn’t stand up.
We drove around and around in the night trying to find the surgery and eventually the vet came out on foot to guide us in.
She said she was 99% sure Galileo had been bitten by a viper although she couldn’t find the bite marks.
Anti-venom doesn’t exist any more in Italy – apparently it caused more deaths than the bites themselves. She put Galileo on a drip and gave him a cortisone injection then took him home with her promising to notify us if there was any change.
I phoned this morning and he was conscious but unable to move, and unable or unwilling to urinate which he must do to rid himself of toxins. She will fit a catheter if necessary.
We went to see him – I have to say he was worse than I’d imagined; eyes open but scarcely acknowledging me.
He won’t be out of danger for a while yet, and if he survives, he’ll be several days getting gradually back to normal.