DURHAM, Kan. (KSNW) – Rattlesnakes usually avoid humans, but about 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes in the United States each year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
One woman from Durham, Marion County, was recently bitten by one. Breah Ungaro is a vet tech who loves animals, especially her horses.
On July 23, she and her husband Cole got home late after a wedding. She quickly put on her slippers, and they headed out to feed their horses.
“When she stepped down to step between the fence so that she could put it in the horse trough, she said something stung me,” Cindy Cordell, Breah’s mom, said.
A massasauga rattlesnake had bitten Breah about three times in the leg.
Her husband rushed her to the Hillsboro Emergency Room and called her mom, Cindy Cordell, and stepdad, Scott Cordell.
“Your first thought is, oh my goodness, they are poisonous. Now what,” Cindy said.
Hillsboro did not have anti-venom because most small hospitals do not carry it due to the cost and shelf life.
Breah was rushed to a Wichita hospital, where she had five anti-venom treatments to stop the venom from spreading up her leg.
“Because it kept swelling, that’s how come they ended up doing the fasciotomy,” Cindy said.
Breah’s leg now has a large scar with many stitches.
She is out of the hospital and slowly recovering.
“When people talk to us now, they say, “How is your daughter?’ Second question, ‘I didn’t even know there were rattlesnakes here.’ So it was a little surreal for us,” said Scott Cordell, Breah’s stepdad.
Breah’s parents said they have learned a lot about rattlesnake safety and bites.
They said to wear boots and watch where you step to prevent being bitten.
If you get bitten, Cindy said treating it is not like what you see in the old western movies.
If you are bitten, you should go to the hospital for an anti-venom treatment.
After this experience, Scott and Cindy said they will always cherish their time with their daughter and family.
“Little things like this can happen, and it could have been a different outcome,” Cindy said. “Thank the Lord it wasn’t.”
The community has come together and raised over $8,000 for Breah as she recovers. She hopes to recover quickly to return to riding her horses and working.
You can learn more about Breah’s story here.