A woman says she would been killed by a mountain lion had her heroic dog not fought it off.

Erin Wilson was enjoying a scenic hike with her Belgian Malinois in Northern California, US, when a big cat terrifyingly leapt out at her.

The lunging lion managed to scratch Erin's left shoulder before two-year-old Eva rushed to her rescue and battled the wild predator in a terrifying ordeal on May 16.

Erin told the Sacramento Bee: “I yelled ‘Eva!’ and she came running. And she hit that cat really hard.”

The cat bit onto Eva's head and refused to let go until Erin and another passing hiker leapt to her defence.

Erin added: “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Grabbing a metal bar from her car, she began beating the mountain lion until it let go while the other woman used rocks and pepper spray to break Eva free.

Erin explained on a fundraising page: "For the next several minutes I tried everything I could to free her. Eventually i ran to my vehicle for a weapon and flagged down assistance from a kind woman named Sharon.

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"Together we beat at the cat while yelling until my dog was let go."

As the lion dashed into nearby bushes, the two women drove a convulsing Eva to the nearest vets where X-rays showed she had sustained two skull fractures and a punctured sinus cavity.

Eva was kept at the vets for treatment over the next several days which she spent largely on fluids until eventually she started eating again.

The super pet has since been released to enjoy home comforts but Erin was left overwhelmed by the expense of vet bills.

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She decided to create a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs which raised an incredible £25,000 in just a two days before Erin stopped taking new donations.

Erin said: "My dog is my hero and I owe her my life. I don’t think I will ever be able to live up to how amazing and loyal she is to me.”

She updated her dog's 19,000 Instagram followers on Sunday night: "Eva is doing well. She is resting a lot, she has a big appetite, and is returning to her old self. "

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