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Has my dog been bitten by an Adder?


Adders are the only venomous snake native to the UK. Growing to around 60cm in length, the adders have a brown zigzag appearance along their back   Adders are generally shy snakes and only really bite in self-defence or if they are disturbed. They will often disappear into the undergrowth at the first sign of danger, but will return once all is quiet.

Adders are only really seen from March to September as they hibernate the rest of the year, they are a protected species under the 1981 wildlife and countryside act meaning it is illegal to harm them

Where are Adders found?

Commonly adders like to live in long grasses, moorlands and rocky hillsides. They can often be seen near stagnant waters, and will come out of hiding when its quiet to sunbath

Symptoms of an Adder bite

·        Your dog may jump up and cry out

·        Swelling,this usually occurs within a couple of hours and can be extensive

·        You may see 2 small puncture holes from the snakes teeth

·        The bites are painful so depending on where the bite is your dog may limp, be reluctant to move or not want to touched

·        Your dog maybe quite lethargic

·        Become week

·        Drool excessively or vomit

·        Have an increased heartbeat or be panting excessively

·        Have bruising over the skin



What should I do if my dog has been bitten by a snake?

Firstly, don’t panic. Try to keep your dog calm, the bite will be painful, if your dog is small enough carry them back to your car and make your way to us as soon as possible. If you can, call us 01708 251200 to let us know you are on your way to us

If you don’t see your dog being bitten but later your dog shows signs of having been bitten it’s important to get your dog seen as soon as possible, even if it’s a weekend or at night – we are here 24 hours a day

Treatment of Adder Bites

This varies from case to case depending on the severity. As previously stated the bites are painful so pain relief along with supportive care such as intravenous fluids to aid with shock and preserve organ function. Steroids, antihistamines and/or antibiotics may also be required. There is an anti venom available however, this can be difficult to obtain and may have side effects typically your dog may need to be hospitalised for several days following a bite.