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Three dogs bitten by adders in New Forest




A VET has revealed that three dogs have been bitten over the last month by adders in the New Forest.

Alice McLeish, from Forestry Veterinary in Fordingbridge, warned dog owners to be on the look out for the UK’s only venomous snake, whose venom is more powerful as they start emerging from hibernation.

She said: “There are everywhere in the New Forest and they can be on clifftops too. This time of year is when they start emerging from a six-month hibernation.

Adders are common in the New Forest
Adders are common in the New Forest

“As a result, they have built up a lot of venom, so their first bites are usually the worse ones of the year.”

Ms McLeish said of the three dogs treated, two had been bitten on the nose and one on the leg.

She said: “Those are the most common sites for a bite as an inquisitive dog will often sniff an adder if it comes across one, only for the snake to strike.

“A bite on the leg usually happens when a dog finds an adder on a path and, at the moment, the snakes are still quite sluggish so it can’t get away quickly, so it might attack instead.”

Symptoms of an adder bite to a dog include a yelp, trembling, swelling, not wanting to move and being sore on its nose, leg, or other spot.

There can be a bite mark which has two small prick points.

The dog should be moved as little as possible to avoid the poison spreading through the body. If possible it should be carried to the car or home. Ring the vet immediately and take it for treatment quickly.

Ms McLeish said: “We usually give the dog injections and fluids to flush the venom out. We only give an antidote in severe cases.

“The danger with bites is the venom getting to the heart and the amount of swelling it can cause. It can be quite remarkable how much a pet bitten by an adder can swell up, which causes breathing problems.”

All three of the dogs bitten are now recovering well. Ms McLeish warned dog owners to be on the lookout for adders when out and said sticking to the Forest paths is safest.



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