Vets Now are warning pet owners to be on their guard for venomous snake following an increase in adder attacks in recent weeks.
Wilson, a four year old Springer Spaniel was recently bitten when he disturbed an adder in Suffolk. There have also been reports of adder attacks in Devon, Sussex, Cumbria, the Highlands and the Lake District, so it really is a UK wide problem.
The warmer weather we have been enjoying has tempted the adders out of hibernation. They are at their most dangerous in early Spring as they are still too dozy from the hibernation to slither away if they are disturbed.
Adders have a distinctive zig-zag along their back and a V-shape on their head, they are Britain’s only poisoness snakes with an estimated 100,000 across Europe.
A study by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) found that most adder bites occur between April and July.
It also revealed that nine in 10 dogs develop signs within 12 hours. These typically include swelling, lethargy, high temperature and heart problems.
Survival rates are high, however, with fewer than one in 20 adder bite victims dying.
While adders can be found throughout Britain, they are most prevalent in the south of England.
Veterinary surgeon Dave Leicester, who is head of clinical intelligence at Vets Now, said: “You should seek urgent veterinary advice if you suspect your dog has been bitten by an adder.
“If you are able, bathe the wound in cold water to help control the swelling but do not delay getting veterinary attention, especially with bites to the head and neck.
“If you can, carry your dog to the car or vet to try to minimise the spread of venom around her body, but if that’s not possible then walk her calmly and quietly.
“The sooner your dog receives treatment, the better her chances are of making a full recovery.
“In the case of Wilson, the owner did the right thing by rushing him straight to the vet.”
Vets Now has teamed up with VPIS to provide vets with the potentially lifesaving Tox Box poison antidote service.
It gives veterinary practices 24-hour-a-day access to the drugs needed to treat serious cases of poisoning.