Tayside and Central Scotland

Snake bite dog Tara's 'remarkable' recovery

Stevie Coombes and Tara Image copyright Trossachs SAR
Image caption Tara's owner Stevie Coombes said it had been "an emotional few days"

A springer spaniel who almost died after being bitten by a snake could follow her mother's lead by becoming a search and rescue dog.

Stevie Coombes' dog Tara was given two blood transfusions after being bitten on the face by an adder in Aberfoyle.

Tara's mother Tess is currently being trained by Trossachs Search and Rescue (SAR) in Balfron, Stirling.

Mr Coombes said he feared he would lose Tara after her condition deteriorated following the incident on 13 July.

Tara has accompanied Tess on her training sessions with the aim of being trained in the future.

Image copyright Trossachs SAR
Image caption Tara's mother Tess is currently training to be an urban search and rescue dog

Mr Coombes, a trainee dog handler and first-responder with Trossachs SAR, said he had earlier let the two dogs out of his truck for ten minutes at a golf course in Aberfoyle.

He said: "She (Tara) was a wee bit lethargic.

"I got her in the house and she started drooling and I could see her face swelling and I knew she'd been bitten by an adder.

"I instantly phoned the vet in Doune and said I'll be there in 20 minutes.

"The vets were brilliant, by the time I got there they already had anti-venom on the way."

Image copyright Trossachs SAR
Image caption Mr Coombes hopes that Tara will become a search and rescue dog in the future

After administering anti-venom, the vet recommended transferring Tara to the Vets Now animal hospital in Glasgow.

Mr Coombes said: "That turned out to be the best call. The hospital got her blood pressure sorted and got her stable.

"I went to see her and an hour later they phoned to say she was going downhill.

"They were going to have to start a blood transfusion because the venom affects the clotting of the blood."

'Emotional few days'

Mr Coombes returned later that day to be told Tara needed a second blood transfusion.

He said: "When they told me they were having the second transfusion, I genuinely didn't think it was going to get her back.

"I thought I would lose her, so for myself and the family and the kids, it was quite an emotional few days."

The following day Mr Coombes was told Tara's blood and vital signs had returned to normal.

He said: "Since then she's been absolutely fine, it's remarkable.

"She's really inquisitive, she's into everything, which is probably what caused the problem.

"In the country if you're letting your dogs run off the lead, it's just one of these things.

"The snake is just minding its own business in its own habitat."

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