Tyne & Wear

Dog owner warning after County Durham adder bite

Karen Foster, Dean Lowden, Hooch, and Kay Sanderson from Westway Veterinary Group Image copyright Westway Veterinary Group
Image caption Hooch was particularly at risk owing to the location of the adder bite

Dog owners and parents of small children have been warned to be on their guard after a pet was bitten by an adder.

Karen Foster and Dean Lowden noticed that Hooch, their Dogue de Bordeaux, was unwell after a walk near Derwent Reservoir.

A "huge swelling" appeared on Hooch's face at the weekend.

He was taken to a local vet, then transferred to a veterinary hospital for an anti-venom injection.

'Very serious'

Ms Forster, of Blackhill, said: "It was a real shock. People need to be aware that there are adders out there.

"I'm very concerned that children and small dogs might be in danger."

Westway Veterinary Group, which treated Hooch, said: "This case is fortunately very rare, but owners should be aware that there are snakes out there in the countryside.

"With Hooch, it was very serious because he was bitten on the face and it meant the swelling could affect the airways.

"If he had been bitten on a paw, he may have only needed an antihistamine injection, but we needed to get anti-venom with it being his face."

Adder facts

Adders are Britain's only venomous snake, but numbers are in decline due to erosion of their habitat by agriculture and urban development.

While a bite can be painful for a human it is rarely fatal - according to Amphibian and Reptile Conservation there have only been about 12 cases of death in the past century.

A conservation project is being carried out by the Durham Wildlife Trust to increase numbers in the area.

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