Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Pet dog nearly dies from adder bite

Dog-owners are urged to be vigilant after a family dog nearly died when it was bitten by an adder

Dog-owners are urged to stay vigilant after a much-loved family pet nearly died when it was bitten by a poisonous snake.

The mouth of Cookie the eight-year-old greyhound bitch swelled up to the size of a tennis ball after she was struck on the snout by an adder at a Staffordshire beauty spot.

Owner Lynn Pallatina said Cookie was lucky to be alive, after vets managed to get anti-venom into the dog.

The veterinary charity the PDSA is urging dog-owners to be aware of the snakes in grassland and woods.

Cookie is now recovering at home with her owner in Hednesford, but Ms Pallatina said there was still a chance the venomous bite had caused permanent damage to the dog's organs.

"Cookie has been incredibly lucky," she said.

"I know without treatment she would have died and I'm so grateful to PDSA for saving her life.

"We won't know for a week or so whether she will make a full recovery or whether there will be any permanent damage."

Cookie was bitten as she was being walked over Cannock Chase.

Ms Pallatina said: "I didn't know what had happened at first, she was sniffing around and then jumped back suddenly.

"I saw the end of a snake but I didn't think she'd actually been bitten - I thought they tended to stay away from people and other animals.

"But then she just lay down on the ground, opening and closing her mouth and within three minutes her face had started to swell badly so I knew something was wrong."

The dog was taken to the pet charity's clinic in Wolverhampton, where vets were able to quickly treat the stricken dog.

Kay Brough, head nurse, said that if untreated it's possible Cookie would have died from organ failure.

"She was immediately given pain relief and thankfully we were able to get hold of the anti-venom to treat her, which she quickly responded to," she said.

Vets are now monitoring the greyhound's progress.

Adder bites are rare but can be extremely serious, according to the PDSA.

Last year, staff at the PDSA Pet Aid hospital in Cardiff amputated the leg of a dog after it was bitten.

The adder, which is native to Britain, is common to dry heaths and moors during hot weather and with recent sunny spells the risk of pet owners crossing their paths can increase, Ms Brough said.

Their venom causes severe, rapid swelling and two small puncture wounds may be visible at the centre.

The dog will also show signs of acute pain, may appear nervous or apprehensive, and can collapse or even die in the worst cases.

Owners spotting these symptoms should call their vet immediately, and are advised not to touch the wound as this can spread the venom.

Ms Pallatina said: "I just want to let other dog owners know of the danger so they can hopefully avoid this terrible experience."

The PDSA offers free treatment to eligible owners, receiving no Government or lottery funding.

For information visit www.pdsa.org.uk.

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