What to do if your pet gets bitten by an adder?

When you’re out and about with your dog they can be quite curious creatures, and once they catch a scent, they’re more interested in the ground than listening to you. This is usually fine as long as there are no farm animals about but during the spring and summer months the adders come out to bask.

The European adder is the only venomous species in the UK and usually come out between April and July when most bites occur. They’re found in or near sand dunes, rocky hillsides, moorlands and woodland edges in the south and south west of England, western Wales and Scotland.

The European Adder

Adder bite symptoms

Adders tend to keep themselves to themselves and tend to only bite if disturbed or threatened which means bites are not too common, but they can happen and it’s good to know how to deal with an adder bite should your dog or cat be bitten.

The symptoms of an adder bite are:

  • Pain and swelling around the bite site
  • Puncture wounds in the site of the swelling
  • Pain, bleeding, lameness and nervousness in your pet


What is the treatment for an adder bite?

What to do if you suspect your dog has been bitten:

  • Don’t panic (if you panic, so will your dog)
  • Try and keep your dog as calm and still as possible
  • Do not touch the wound
  • Do not try sucking the poison from the wound
  • If you can, bring transport to the pet and head to the vets, if not carry your pet to the car
  • Get to the vet as soon as you can, but phone before going

Early treatment is so important as an untreated bite can cause some severe symptoms in dogs and can lead to heard, kidney and liver failure.

At the vet, they will be provided with pain relief, fluid therapy and possibly anti-histamines. Anti-venom will sometimes be used, depending on the case and its availability as it’s quite hard to obtain.

The sooner your cat or dog receives treatment the better the chances of making a full recovery so do not hesitate if you suspect your pet has been bitten.

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