'Big Sister' Dog Fighting for Life After Getting Bitten by Snake While Protecting 'Brother'

A pet dog is receiving urgent treatment after being bitten by a highly venomous snake in its owner's backyard.

The 5-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, called Milly, suffered multiple bite injuries on her legs and neck when she was attacked by a brown snake in Queensland, Australia.

Her owner, paramedic Madeline Mills, has said that she believes Milly was trying to defend her five-month-old dog, Tonka, from the predator.

"She seemed to have protected her little brother Tonka, who didn't get any venom," Mills said, according to Australia's 9News.

The snake was also injured in the incident and was later relocated from the property.

Eastern brown snakes are native to eastern and central Australia, and are amongst the deadliest snakes in the world.

The species is responsible for more human deaths than any other snake in the country, and brown snakes are regularly spotted in the vicinity of people's homes, sometimes even managing to find their way into them, via open windows, doors or crevices.

Queensland Museum describes the eastern brown snake as being "pugnacious when provoked."

"If provoked, the snake will rear up and adopt an S-shape strike posture, and will strike if cornered," Queensland's department of environment and science says.

In June, an Australian snake catcher released footage of an eastern brown snake lashing out repeatedly after being found hiding in a tiny gap in a sliding door frame in an elderly woman's home.

However, the Australian Museum adds that they'll only react in this manner if they feel "surprised or cornered," and that they will usually "flee or else remain stationary, hoping to avoid detection," in most situations.

Mills was able to attend to her dog within minutes of the bite.

She was quickly taken to a vet, where she was administered with antivenom, and put on an IV. She is currently being monitored for organ failure.

Organ failure is one of several potential consequences of a bite from an eastern brown snake, with paralysis and uncontrollable bleeding also serious possibilities.

A pet dog was bitten by an eastern brown snake in a separate incident in Queensland in August.

The 4-year-old mastiff cross, which was set to be a bridesmaid at its owners' wedding, was attacked just days before the ceremony.

The dog was rushed to a veterinary facility, where it was intubated and given antivenom and other treatments before its condition started to improve several days later.

A young eastern brown snake
Eastern brown snakes are responsible for more human deaths than any other snake species in Australia. gorgar64/iStock