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Thread: What should you do if an adder bites your dog?

  1. #1
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    Default What should you do if an adder bites your dog?

    Got an aggro wee border terrier cross, and having finally trained her well enough to walk her off the lead, I'm venturing further out into the hills - into adder territory too cold at the moment, but when it warms up they'll be about. I KNOW she's not going to go into retreat if she meets an adder - so, should she get a bite, what should I do?

    Also if she gets a bite that I don't witness how could I tell early enough to do something?

    Cheers,

    Rod

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    Think it's much the same as a human getting bitten.

    Different reactions by individuals but off to the vet asap.

    May be swelling,even paralysis,carry the dog anyway.

    Not usually fatal and treated with anti histamines if no anti venom available and antibiotics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barn Owl View Post
    Think it's much the same as a human getting bitten...off to the vet asap...
    +1. Run to the vet. 10-18 if possible.

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    If you see the bite (unlikely). Calm the dog carry it to reduce heart rate. Apply a compression bandage to the effected limb. Do not attack the snake. Only increases your chance of a bite. Take a photo with your phone for positive id of the snake. An Adder bite could prove fatal to a small dog so urgent treatment at a Vet.


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    Are dogs actually affected by adder bites? I know it seems a silly question (and probably is!), but I remember being told in Oz that the funnel-web spider bite - normally fatal to humans unless antivenom given quickly - has virtually no effect on dogs and cats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy BB View Post
    Are dogs actually affected by adder bites? I know it seems a silly question (and probably is!), but I remember being told in Oz that the funnel-web spider bite - normally fatal to humans unless antivenom given quickly - has virtually no effect on dogs and cats.
    Yes dogs are affected... There were 2 cases just last year that I read about and no doubt there have been more
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    Dogs are bitten mainly around the nose. You would certainly see the bite there as adder venom contains anti coagulants and it will bleed if envenomation has taken place, it will also start swelling considerably and the dog will obviously feel the effects and you will see that behaviour very clearly. Adder venom is quite a powerful cocktail. A compression bandage won't be much use around that area, and don't waste time if it was bitten on a limb, just pick it up and get to a vets. No point in taking a picture as the adder is our only venomous snake and it will disappear quickly once the dog has retreated anyway. Diagnosis of snake bite is quite easy, it is unmistakable compared to the much lesser effects of an insect sting and the effects are immediate.

    Dogs have a remarkable system to aid recovery from adder bites, but even so, fatalities occur every year due to vets that diagnose incorrectly, and owners that don't take action. Recovery is not a certainty, but the adders reluctance to inject a full dose, the owners swift response, and the vets actions, make survival a very high probability. The best course of action is to find a local vet who is equipped to deal with a bite now, then you have all bases covered if a bite does occur. Just remember that even with nosy boisterous dogs, the adder will get away without incident 99% of the time. It requires a snake cornered without retreat to bite, which is rare. So even if your dog does encounter one, it is unlikely to receive a bite. Just locate a vet you know that can deal with the situation now, and your dog will be good, even if the worst happens. Just try to avoid those areas around March, April and into early May, as this is the breeding season, and male adders lose their timidness as they search out mates and spend more time in the open.
    Last edited by JonathanD; 16-02-2012 at 06:58.
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    Adders are a very scary looking snake. Small, but scary!
    My new photography blog - http://www.jamesflood.co.uk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaymzflood View Post
    Adders are a very scary looking snake. Small, but scary!
    Just goes to show how tastes differ - I think they're beautiful, one of the UK's most stunning creatures.
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    Many dogs naturally avoid tangling with snakes but if you find your dog shows a little too much interest in slithing things & you're ln 'snake' country, then you could try a little aversion therapy........

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    Pray and do what the others have suggested.

    But why not let them "play" with snakes.

    My dog has played with little ones up to small pythons and very large monitors. She knows one end bites and tails can strike hard









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    I may have conjured this up in my head but I'm sure I read somewhere that certain breeds of dog are more likely to get bitten due to the nature of the dog.

  14. #14
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    Thanks folks, some good advice there & I'll be taking Jonathon's advice about having a chat to the vet (the mutt's due her checkup soon so I can chat with her then).

    Aversion therapy'll be difficult - the only pet snake I know is my brother's and that's in Ireland. Keeping her on the lead defeats the purpose of getting out in the countryside with her tbh - I'd rather walk in the areas where there are less adders in that case.

    Is there certain weather conditions/times it's most dangerous? Thinking a cool morning before they've got warmed enough enough to be as mobile to avoid the dog, that type of thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adze View Post
    Just goes to show how tastes differ - I think they're beautiful, one of the UK's most stunning creatures.
    I agree, but I find most snakes beautiful - but the poisonous ones (especially in Jon's pics) give me the heebie-jeebies, although I have caught adders before - more as a stupid bravado thing because my Dad told me tales of catching them for the science teacher when he was a boy..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Paradise View Post

    Aversion therapy'll be difficult - the only pet snake I know is my brother's and that's in Ireland..

    You can use a rubber snake,...simply put the snake on the floor & as the dog approaches (hopefully hesitantly) take the snake, slide it along the floor like a real one & make it lunge at the dog...........the doggy should get a scare & back off....if it does that's a good sign & should refuse to approach the rubber snake again. .....end of lesson, no need to continue.
    If however the dog is more fiesty, place the snake on the floor again, & as the dog approaches, usually causiously, his entire concentration will be on the snake & when he's very near the snake give him a little pinch on a back leg,( do not hurt him it's just to give him a fright) he should jump in the air with fright.......he should now associate this & similar shaped objects with a fearful experience & not approach them............

    Your dog is a female, they have 2 advantages over males in this scenario,, firstly they are more cautious & use their common sense more & secondly they are less likely to attack something they're afraid of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blacktimberwolf View Post
    Your dog is a female, they have 2 advantages over males in this scenario,, firstly they are more cautious & use their common sense more & secondly they are less likely to attack something they're afraid of.
    So we are taking BITCHES here right? Because you're sounding like my wife now.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod Paradise View Post
    Is there certain weather conditions/times it's most dangerous? Thinking a cool morning before they've got warmed enough enough to be as mobile to avoid the dog, that type of thing.
    To a certain extent you are spot on with that observation. On cool mornings they will be out longer and be less prone to move off as quickly as they have not warmed up. Especially in late Feb and March when they are just emerging from hibernation and can be found in large groups in some areas.

    As I've said before though. They will be quick to get away when a big snuffling dog shadow disturbs them, and they will be extra vigilant and ellusive where dog walkers are common.

    Eve dogs know danger when they see it, it is programmed into them as it is in us. An adders warning behaviour is very impressive.

    And they are beautiful. I deal with beautiful and amazing snakes from all over the globe almost daily, and the adder is still my firm favourite...

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    Stunning pic JD
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    Don't wast an opportunity to take the dog to the vets and make yourself a nice belt.
    Hugo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blacktimberwolf View Post
    You can use a rubber snake,...simply put the snake on the floor & as the dog approaches (hopefully hesitantly) take the snake, slide it along the floor like a real one & make it lunge at the dog...........the doggy should get a scare & back off....if it does that's a good sign & should refuse to approach the rubber snake again. .....end of lesson, no need to continue.
    If however the dog is more fiesty, place the snake on the floor again, & as the dog approaches, usually causiously, his entire concentration will be on the snake & when he's very near the snake give him a little pinch on a back leg,( do not hurt him it's just to give him a fright) he should jump in the air with fright.......he should now associate this & similar shaped objects with a fearful experience & not approach them...
    You do realize that's almost the same method used to train dogs to hate any given species enough to deliberately hunt and kill it? You train coon dogs or squirrel dogs by letting a captured one bite them.

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    Jonathan, you mentioned breeding season as a particularly dangerous time. Do adders also get aggressive when shedding their skins? Most of our snakes here do because they are blinded by the scales covering their eyes at shedding time. If so, when is shedding time there?

  23. #23
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    I wouldn't say that snakes get more aggressive when shedding. They lose their sight and have to bask in the open to speed up shedding, so they become more defensive and less prone to negotiation if confronted by a perceived danger due to that loss of sense. It only lasts two to three days in any snake species. Adders slough soon after coming out of hibernation. That is the only guaranteed time of shedding. Throughout the rest of the year, it can happen at any time depending on the amount they've fed, the climate being good or not so good, and their age. An older snake sheds much less than a young snake in it's first couple of seasons.

    It is true though, the fight or flight instinct is increased quite a bit in both directions depending on the situation.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacktimberwolf View Post
    You can use a rubber snake,...simply put the snake on the floor & as the dog approaches (hopefully hesitantly) take the snake, slide it along the floor like a real one & make it lunge at the dog...........the doggy should get a scare & back off....if it does that's a good sign & should refuse to approach the rubber snake again. .....end of lesson, no need to continue.
    If however the dog is more fiesty, place the snake on the floor again, & as the dog approaches, usually causiously, his entire concentration will be on the snake & when he's very near the snake give him a little pinch on a back leg,( do not hurt him it's just to give him a fright) he should jump in the air with fright.......he should now associate this & similar shaped objects with a fearful experience & not approach them............

    Your dog is a female, they have 2 advantages over males in this scenario,, firstly they are more cautious & use their common sense more & secondly they are less likely to attack something they're afraid of.
    I'll give it some thought - think teasing the mutt with a rubber snake is more likely to end up with a destroyed rubber snake though. She is a female - but she's a scottish female - more aggro than the male!!!

  25. #25
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    I'd forgotten to mention that it might help if you found a vet that has access to Zargreb European Viper antivenin which is suitable for Vipera berus. Most hospitals do throughout the UK. A few vetinarians may do too, and you may find one that has stock if they have treated bites regularly over the years. This would show experience in dealing with berus envenomation, and experience would certainly be a lifesaver. There are some vets out there that recommend homeopathic treatment, which is just insane and could make things worse and certainly not better.
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  26. #26

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    I've just found this thread so I thought I'd add to Jonathan's excellent advice. According to a report published in August 2011 by the British Veterinary Association 97% of dogs bitten by adders suffered significant morbidity and 4.6% of dogs treated failed to survive the Adder bite. Obviously these figures do not take into account those dogs that were bitten but were not taken to a veterinary practice for treatment. Some vets advise carrying Piriton tablets if you walk your dog in areas known to be inhabited by Adders. Piriton (active ingredient chlorphenamine maleate) is a sedating antihistamine tablet which can buy your dog time if bitten by an Adder until you get the dog to the vets.

    Jason
    Last edited by JaySteel; 28-04-2012 at 17:18.

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    if you know any shooters in basc theres a big section on dogs about insect stings and adder bites, describing symtoms what to do if they get bitten and how to avoid it. The lastest basc mag
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