Fair weather can bite!

Advice from Torbridge Vets.

Finally the sun is out! We are all itching to get out and about with our pets and soak up the rays. One fair weather problem comes in the form of Britain’s only venomous reptile, the adder. They have already been seen by our staff out on Torrington commons and in the sand dunes at Westward Ho! They are fascinating creatures and generally will only bite if provoked. They can be found basking on sunny woodland slopes, in long grass, or in sand dunes. Bites earlier in the season tend to be worse than those later, and for smaller dogs they can be deadly. Dog often get bitten on the face or legs, as they anger the snake by accidentally stepping on them or sniffing them. Cats can be bitten too but they tend to be more street wise than dogs so it’s rare! Signs your pet has been bitten include sudden cries of pain followed by localised swelling. You may see puncture marks you may not. Some dogs will show very few signs and simply become unwell later on with lethargy, vomiting etc. If you suspect your pet has been bitten:


Keep calm; keep your dog calm to reduce blood pressure.

Try to keep your dog still, carry them to the car (if possible!)

Contact your vet to let them know you are coming.



Apply a tourniquet – this is not recommended in most cases.

Try to squeeze or suck out the venom.

Kill or catch the snake (we know it’s a adder and it’s not its fault, it was just acting in self defence).

Mess with the bite site.

We at Torbridge vets really hope you enjoy the weather with your pets.

We hope some of the information comes in handy and you can enjoy the good weather whilst keeping your pets happy and healthy. Next time I shall explain about how to keep your pets safe in the heat of summer (assuming the sun stays with us!).

Alice England, RVN Fdn.


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