Cookie the Greyhound had a serious brush with death after an adder, the only venomous snake native to Britain, took her name too literally and bit her while she was out on a walk in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.
Her owner Lynn Pallatina said, “I didn’t know what had happened to Cookie at first, she was sniffing around and then jumped back suddenly. I saw the end of a snake but I didn’t think she’d actually been bitten – I thought they tended to stay away from people and other animals. But then she just lay down on the ground, opening and closing her mouth and within three minutes her face had started to swell badly so I knew something was wrong. I took her straight to PDSA and they asked if it was possible Cookie had been bitten by something, it was only then that it clicked it may have been the adder.”
While adders bite rarely, dogs have occasionally been bitten in self-defence and the consequences can be dire. The adder's venom can cause organ failure and death, and it is essential to administer anti-venom as soon as possible. Cookie responded quickly to the prompt treatment, and has since returned home - but PDSA will keep monitoring her kidney function, to ensure no permanent damage has been made.
Adders can be found commonly in woods and grasslands during hot weather. Dog owners are advised to pay attention to their surroundings while walking their dogs, and to get help immediately if they have any reason to think their dog might have been bitten.
Kay Brough, Head Nurse at Wolverhampton PDSA, said, “The venom causes severe, rapid swelling and two small puncture wounds may be visible at the centre. The dog will also show signs of acute pain and may appear nervous or apprehensive. If not treated it can cause them to collapse and can even be fatal. Any owner noticing any of these symptoms should call their vet immediately for advice. Don’t touch the wound as this can spread the venom further."
Image by PDSA.