Snake bites – do you know what to do?

1st May 2016

At this time of year, adder bites are more likely to occur. The snake is emerging from its hibernation, and on warm sunny days they can be found basking on rocks on the moors, in woods and on rough ground.

If you suspect a snake has bitten your dog, contact us at Bollington Veterinary Centre in Bollington immediately and we’ll help as much as we can.

Call us if your dog has been bitten

How do I know if my dog’s been bitten?

If your dog is happily exploring, you may not even see the snake – so you’ll need to watch out for other signs.

Common signs

  • Squeal or scream – a sudden sharp yelp from your dog
  • Lameness – be aware if your dog suddenly starts to limp
  • Licking – your dog may start to lick or rub an affected area
  • Puncture wounds – often seen as two small holes beside each other
  • Dribbling – often a dog will start to salivate more than usual
  • Swellings – there may be a swelling or darkening of the skin in or around the bite
  • Unsettled – a dog will become unusually restless or tired
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea – bitten animals may get acute gastrointestinal reactions
  • Fits – in extreme cases and animal may have seizures

What do adders look like?

They are dark brown, about half a metre in length, have a zig-zag pattern on their backs and a characteristic ‘V’ shape on the top of their heads. What should you do?

You must act fast to prevent serious illness or death

  • Don’t panic – try to stay calm, and take immediate action
  • Call for help – telephone us at {{owner.clinic-name}} immediately on {{owner.clinic-main-phone}} so we know to expect you
  • Keep your dog quiet – it’s best to carry your dog to the vets. This stops the venom from spreading quickly

What will we do?

Our vets and nurses will start by treating the swelling, pain and shock caused by the bite. In a very severe case, your dog may need anti-venom to counteract the poisonous effects of the bite.