We are currently seeing a lot of dogs with adder bites in the surgery. Adders are common around Brighton, on the Downs, wild parklands and grassy areas. They come out of hibernation in the springtime and the long spell of warm weather we’ve been experiencing is making them particularly active. Dogs are susceptible to adder bites as they are so curious. The most common area on a dog to be bitten is the face, neck or legs.
If you think your dog’s been bitten, check for a dark, painful swelling on the skin, you can often see the tell-tale puncture marks. Dogs may appear anxious, nauseous, in pain or dizzy. Try to keep them calm, bathe the wound in cool water to reduce the swelling and if possible carry them to a car to slow the spread of venom around the body. You should get your dog to the vets as soon as possible. Please call us to let us know you’re on your way so that we can get medication ready for you, as not every surgery keeps anti-venom in stock.
Once at the surgery, severe cases of adder bites are treated with anti-venom, although this can only be given once to any dog. Less severe cases are treated with pain relief and ant-inflammatories. Although painful it’s rare for dogs to die from adder bites, but always seek medical help and advice as the site of the bite can cause complications, ie breathing problems from swelling around the neck. If left untreated dogs can collapse, experience convulsions and blood clotting problems.
The best protection is to keep dogs on leads on the Downs and stick to paths in semi rural areas.