Do you take your dog for walks in the countryside in the summer? Has your dog ever been bitten by a snake? You may think that this would be a rare occurrence in this country but Pet Doctors Veterinary clinics are seeing an increasing number of dogs with varying degrees of snakebites.
The only venomous snake native to this country is the Adder (Vipera berus). When an Adder bites it typically injects around 1ml of venom. There are usually one or two small puncture wounds that may or may not bleed. Up to 20 minutes later the bitten area may become hot and red, with swelling and throbbing. Sometimes these are the only signs. The peak effects are usually seen around six hours after the bite.
If you suspect that a snake has bitten your dog, you would seek immediate veterinary attention. Even if the dog is not showing any obvious signs of a bite, the vet will be able to carry out a thorough examination and if a snakebite is diagnosed, aggressive treatment will be administered immediately. A snakebite that is not treated can lead to serious problems including increased swelling and bruising; vomiting and can affect blood clotting. In severe cases, a snakebite can be fatal. The Adder is considered a relatively harmless snake but bearing in mind what could happen, if you ever have any doubt that a snake has bitten your pet, you should seek veterinary advice immediately.
The photo opposite shows the puncture wounds from a snake bite in a dog's leg. This was a case brought into Pet Doctors, Rustington in West Sussex.
Quick action could save your pet’s life.