Cambridgeshire

Adder warning after deaf spaniel dog bitten

Toby the dog with swollen face Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption Adder bites can be fatal to dogs, but Toby's facial swelling went down and he is now recovering at home

A deaf dog's "excessive curiosity" got him into trouble when he was bitten by a venomous snake.

Spaniel Toby, aged 13, could not hear his owner's warnings as he went chasing after an adder in Newmarket, Suffolk.

The dog was bitten and rushed to specialist vets in Cambridgeshire with severe facial swelling. Toby needed four days of care before recovering.

Staff at the vets warned dog owners to be aware of adders, which can be fatal to dogs.

The snakes vary in length from 40cm (16in) to 70cm (28in) and can be distinguished from other non-poisonous native species by the zig-zag pattern on their back, or V or X-shaped markings on their heads.

They tend to wake up after hibernation in the spring.

Toby's run-in with the adder happened earlier this month while he was being exercised on Cavenham Heath.

Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption Toby's owner took a photo of the adder to show the vet what had bitten the dog

Although his owner tried to stop Toby from playing with the adder he could not hear the warnings and was bitten on the face.

Luckily his owner saw the snake bite, which requires immediate treatment to reduce the chances of the venom entering the lymphatic and circulatory system.

"The most important factor in a dog's response to an adder bite is rapid and appropriate treatment," a spokeswoman from Six Mile Bottom-based specialists Dick White Referrals, said.

"Signs of an adder bite usually appear within two hours and can include local swelling, pain, bleeding and lameness."

Pets should also be carried as walking would encourage the venom into the circulatory system.

While anti-venom might be needed, Toby was fortunate and could be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Image copyright Dick White Referrals
Image caption When Toby's facial swelling had reduced, he was well enough to return home

After four days of care his facial swelling reduced and he returned home where he is expected to return to full health.

The veterinary specialists said there are about 100 adder bites to dogs reported each year in the UK.

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