Devon snake bites on dogs on the rise
Dog owners in Devon are being told to be careful while out with their dogs walking them as snakes bites have increased this summer dramatically.
One vet in Devon said she had treated 15 animals for snake bites by adders this year alone. This is a huge increase from 2012 where only two such bites were treated.
Most of the animals were attack in the Dartmoor area with most of the bites being caused by adders which are the only venomous snakes found in Britain.
Victoria Goss of the Dart Vale Veterinary Group said that if the dogs were not treated after a bite then the vemon from the snakes could kill them.
Healthy adults are usually fine to deal with snake bites however the elderly and young children could be in serious trouble. The bite is very painful and requires urgent medical attention. For smaller creatures it means life or death. Snakes use their venom to immobilise prey such as lizards, amphibians, nestlings and small mammals.
One such example was a thirteen year old springer spaniel named Sam who was bitten on a walk in a field near Ashbutron. Sam’s owner Sarah Watts said of the incident "His face doubled in size. I thought 'that was just not right', it was concerning."
The treatment has been intense though. She commented that "Usually they end up needing to have intravenous fluids.
"More often than not they also need to stay indoors for that treatment, and they often get a very big, painful swelling and a high temperature."
The adders are not aggressive and will only bite anything that is not prey if they feel their lives are in danger such as being caught, trodden on or disturbed by a dog. Bite usually occur on the legs or face. With a dog that has been bitten you will notice local swelling that is dark and in the centre there is usually two puncture wounds. Your dog will show signs of pain and may be nervous.
You should take your dog to the vet straight away. They should be carried rather than walked as this can help prevent the spread of venom.