A western Sydney vet who survived a bite from a deadly eastern brown snake says suffering one venomous attack in 41 years is “not a bad record”.
Dr Robert Johnson, who runs a veterinary clinic with his wife in South Penrith, was tending to the snake’s damaged tail as his last consultation last week when the deadly reptile became fond of his right forearm.
“It lunged at me. I thought I was a safe distance away but I wasn’t,” Dr Johnson told AAP on Thursday.
“I guess I dropped my guard a little bit. Accidents happen and eastern brown snakes are quite agile.
“It didn’t actually latch onto my skin, it grazed my skin … but even if it was just a scrape of their teeth, you have to assume you have a venomous bite.”
The snake’s handler immediately applied a pressure bandage to the bleeding wound and called triple zero.
Meanwhile, a calm Dr Johnson called his wife – fellow veterinarian Jane Coffey.
“She wasn’t very happy,” he said.
“I knew I had been bitten by arguably one of the most venomous animals in the world but I also knew that with the right care that I would be okay.”
Dr Johnson, who’s also the president of the Australian Veterinary Association, and been a vet for 41 years, says he’s been bitten by pythons, lizards and turtles, scratched by dogs and cats and even stomped on by horses.
“It’s the first time I’ve been bitten by a venomous one, so not a bad record,” the 63 year old said.
After three days in Nepean Hospital, suffering minor kidney damage, Dr Johnson returned to work on Monday.
“My first three cases were all venomous – a black snake, a swamp snake and a male platypus,” he told AAP.
“They’re usually a dog and a cat and a rabbit or something like that. So that was very unusual.”
Originally published as Vet survives bite from deadly brown snake