I walk my dog in our local woods. Recently, dog walkers who use the same route informed me that a couple of dogs have been bitten by snakes in this area. I am cautious on our walks and try to keep my dog on the path. If my dog gets bitten by a snake, what should I do?
Vicky says: The only venomous snake in the UK is the adder. Snakes usually move away from dogs and walkers, but can be sluggish and more likely to bite in self-defence in the morning or on cooler spring and autumn days. Keeping to the path is the best prevention plan, and some walkers use bells on their dogs, or walk with a stick (to vibrate the ground) to try to make any snakes move away from the path. If you suspect your dog has been bitten, call your vet immediately for advice. Carry your dog to your car, or apply a firm bandage to a larger dog, to reduce the spread of any venom. You can apply an icepack too if you happen to have one. Bites are seldom fatal, but are more dangerous if they are around the head and neck or close to a vein. Obviously smaller dogs are at higher risk of complications. Anti-venom is not always required, and can only be given once. Most dogs recover well with supportive care, such as intravenous fluids, painkillers, and antibiotics, as well as treatment of the nasty wound that occurs around the bite area.
Vicky Payne – BVetMed, MRCVS is a holistic vet based in East Sussex.
Pet First Aid Kit
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