Snake bites injure Cheltenham Dogs

Cheltenham Vets See More Adder Bites with the Warm Weather.

We’ve recently treated several dogs with suspected Adder bites.  Dogs are naturally very curious animals and love nothing more than investigating these enticing reptiles. Unfortunately, if they get too friendly with these venomous snakes, they may receive a bite, usually to the head and neck, or occasionally to the limbs. We’ve had some reports of Adder’s basking on the rocks around Cleeve and Leckhampton hills.

Fortunately snake bites are very rare but can in some cases be quite serious.

Usually the first sign of a bite is that the dog cries out and runs off. Sometimes the offending snake may be seen making a swift exit, although often it is not possible to identify the cause. This is often followed by  soft-tissue swelling at the site of skin puncture. This swelling starts to appear within the first few hours of being bitten and often the face and/or lips  start to swell. Animals show a variety of symptoms ranging from relatively mild swellings that resolve within a few hours, to anaphylaxis and death.

Dog Snake Bite 1

Thankfully we’ve not lost any pets to snake bites but some cases do require hospital treatment. Generally we administer anti-histamines, pain killing and anti-inflammatory medicines and sometimes put animals onto a drip. In the most extreme circumstances we can administer anti-venom. We are fortunate to be one of the few practices in the South West to have access to this anti-venom.

There are a few things that owners can do to dissuade Adders from frequenting their gardens and this includes:

  • keeping grass short
  • removing cover such as wood piles and rockeries
  • using enclosed bins for compost
  • repairing holes, cracks and crevices in buildings, patios and walls

Finally, it’s important not to be too hard on the lowly Adder – they’re only enjoying the sunshine and any aggression is in self-defence.