Bessie the Yorkie was stung by a venomous scorpion and rushed to her local vet – The community rallied to find her anti-venom to save her.
North West, South Africa (18 January 2024) – While Bessie the Yorkie may be a tiny 2.8kgs, she had the weight of her community behind her after being stung by a species of Parabuthus, more commonly known as the Thick-Tailed Scorpion. The community rallied to find her anti-venom and managed to save her life.
The Parabuthus genus is made up of a large and highly venomous Afrotropical scorpions. Their stings are dangerous and have even been known to cause human fatalities.
Joanne “Jo” Wilson from the Cat Angel Refuge shared Bessie’s story, highlighting how the community came together to make sure Bessie got the life-saving treatment she needed.
Jo shared that Bessie’s owners rushed her to the vet where she was immediately stabilised but then the search for anti-venom began. It took several people across two provinces to make it happen, but in the end, it happened!
“What a marathon it was.
The owners reacted immediately and dashed to Marico Bosveld Dierekliniek who did emergency stabilisation. Then the phone calls.
Hospital, other vets in the province.
No one had antivenom.
By now Bessie was going blue and struggling to breath.” – Joanne Wilson
They contacted Hermien Grobler from the South African Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the African Snakebite Institute. Hermien started making her own calls, reaching out to industry contacts who then also picked up their phones and started calling around.
“She called Arno Naude from snake bite assist, who also replied ‘hold on I am making calls’. He called Mike Perry from African Reptiles and Venom. Who replied “I HAVE A VIAL”.
Now the logistics how to get the vial from Diepsloot to Zeerust.”
Bessie’s owners met their daughter in Rustenburg, who had picked up the anti-venom from Mike in Gauteng, and they drove back to the vet in Zeerust to save Bessie.
“At 8h30 pm the antivenom was given by Dr Natalie and now the wait, would she have a reaction, would she be OK.
And we are extremely pleased to say she is doing extremely well.” – Joanne Wilson
Jo marvelled at how the community came together to find a life-saving vial of anti-venom. Anti-venom is already so hard to come by, so when people united to save a tiny Yorkie, hearts were filled to the max!
“It takes a village and people working with many different species to save a life.
We are extremely grateful to be part of this village.”
Jo encourages people who live in areas where venomous snakes and scorpions (so all of South Africa) to invest in courses hosted by all the above-mentioned organisations. Knowing what to do and who to call in an emergency can be life-saving! She also shared the Snake Bite Assist group on Facebook, run by Arno Naude, which helps with information for South Africa.
Bessie is happy, healthy and back home safely in the arms of her beloved owners.