It is well and truly hotting up out there now and, understandably, people are heading off into the countryside to enjoy some fresh air and glorious sunshine. But, as temperatures start to rise, dogs and dog walkers are not the only creatures heading out to enjoy the sun – so are adders. The UK’s only venomous snake, the adder is found all over our local area. The Fleet at Weymouth is a particular adder hotspot but they can be found on any form of heathland and even in people’s gardens. With their distinctive diamond markings, adders will not go out of their way to attack your dog but they will bite in self-defence if disturbed. Thus, most bites we see will be on dogs’ front legs and faces.

These bites are painful and can swell dramatically, though generally not fatal, you should get your dog to the vets as quickly as possible. Try and minimise stress to your dog if they are bitten (i.e. if possible do not run them home, try and get someone to come and pick them up in a car to take them to the vets) keeping them as cool and calm as possible. Once at the vets we will treat the swelling and support these dogs, sometimes with anti-inflammatories, sometimes with anti-venom and sometimes just with fluid therapy, pain relief and support.

Adder bites can be shocking so it is important to remain calm, all vets are offering some form of 24-hour emergency service, even in these troubled times, so do not panic. Make contact with your vets who will talk you through the best plan of action for your bitten dog.