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Thread: Adder Bite

  1. #1

    Adder Bite

    What should I do if me or my dog is bitten by an adder? What are the signs and symptoms?

    Thanks Willie

  2. #2
    SD Regular willie_gunn's Avatar
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    The short answer is - get the dog to a vet as soon as possible.

    We were in Scotland two years ago where there are a lot of adders and one of the party's labradors got bitten - you could see the two puncture marks on the dog's muzzle. The muzzle swelled noticeably, so the dog was taken to the vet straight away (no mean feat with an 8 mile track before you get off the estate) where it was given an anti-histamine treatment.

    For bites to humans, check out the following web pages:

    The treatment for humans is much the same - no bandages/tourniquets, take a paracetamol if necessary (NOT for the dog...), take off any watches/jewellery, keep the limb immobile, get to the doctor or A&E and get proper treatment. In severe cases a bite can lead to anaphylactic shock but to put things in context, I believe the last human death from an adder bite was over 30 years ago.


  3. #3
    Get the dog to a vet PDQ Preferably carry the dog if possible. normal treatment is antihistamine or cortisone plus antibiotics. If the vet has good relations with local hospital they may have anti-venom but it to carries a risk of anaphylactic shock. Snake venom is either haemotoxic or neurotoxic. Adders are haemotoxic. We had a vet nurse bitten by an adder who ended up in hospital but she had an exceptional reaction. Normally just stings. Antihistamine used.

  4. #4
    I have seen other sites advise the administration of Piriton? Morena - your thoughts?

  5. #5
    My lab had a suspected adder bite when picking up last season. We couldn't find any puncture wounds, but then she had been working in cover and had a load of tiny nicks and cuts on her legs. The only doubt in the vet's mind was the fact it was very late in the season for an adder but the results were pretty horrendous - the leg was swollen to about twice its normal size and went black. We rushed her to an emergency vet (Saturday afternoon and our vet was shut!) and they put her on cortisone plus antibiotics and kept her in for a couple of days. The bill was well in excess of 500!!

    The photo below was taken about 4 days after the even when the swelling and bruising had gone right down - it was a LOT worse than this at the time!!

  6. #6
    As other said - to the vet immediatelly.

    A few years back, when we were buiding new high seat, one of the dogs started behaving strangely. She appeared to be tired and sleepy. One of the collegues was a vet and started looking at her and found two tiny bite marks on her leg. The owner took the dog to the hospital to the city nearby. Then the doctor lady said that the anti-venom was only for human and they have only one. He said that if the dog dies he would come back and $""$&^% her!

    She gave him the anti-venom, vet made the injection, and the dog was ok in a few hours


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