PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – A K9 assisting the FBI in a search for a missing baby was bitten by a water moccasin in the Everglades on Thursday.
As law enforcement personnel were searching the area, Forensic Investigator Heidi Sievers and the dog’s handler noticed that K9 Phi was limping, News4Jax reported.
While walking back, a trainer saw a water moccasin.
Next, the investigators noticed blood coming from Phi’s rear paw. As a result, they immediately took him to BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Naples, Fla.
K9 Phi was treated with anti-venom by BluePearl relief veterinarian, Beth Lechner, DVM, DACVIM, Internal Medicine.
Phi’s prognosis for a full recovery is good. He was released to finish recovering at home with his handler on Friday.
“The Pasco Sheriff’s Office is thankful for the quick actions of BluePearl in K9 Phi’s care,” the Pasco Sheriff’s Office said. “Their professionalism and communication with FI Sievers and Cpl. Hall has been greatly appreciated during this incident. While K9 Phi is a working dog, he is also a part of not only the Pasco Sheriff’s Office family, but also FI Sievers’ family, as our K9s live at home in off duty hours. We are grateful that BluePearl’s work will allow our family member to make a full recovery and continue his important work within Pasco County and beyond.”
Pasco Sheriff’s Office is one of the few agencies in the nation that has Human Remains Detection K9s integrated within their agency.
Live Science provided the following information regarding water moccasins:
“The water moccasin, North America’s only venomous water snake, has a distinctive blocky, triangular head; a thick body; and a dangerous bite. Water moccasins rarely bite humans, however, and only attack when threatened. They are semiaquatic, so they’re happy both swimming in water and basking on land in their native range in the southeastern United States. … Water moccasins are pit vipers, like copperheads and rattlesnakes. … Water moccasins are relatively large, often ranging from 2 to 4 feet (61 to 122 centimeters) long. … They have large jowls, due to their venom glands, and ‘cat-eye’ pupils. Water moccasins have dark stripes by each nostril and pale snouts, which can be helpful in identifying features.”
As of Thursday Pasco Sheriff’s Office continued the search for baby Andrew along with the FBI.