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PHOTOS: Cornwall dog's severe reaction after adder bite

PHOTOS: Cornwall dog's severe reaction after adder bite

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 4:10pm 11th May 2018.

Dog owners are being urged to look out for snakes on the Cornish coast path after one pooch was rushed to the vets.

Little Cara had a severe reaction after being bitten by an adder walking on the stretch between Botallack and Levant, near Pendeen.


Now her owner, Cornwall councillor Sue James, is calling for others to be wary as the warmer weather brings them out.

Luckily, they managed to get the spaniel to the vets within 40 minutes of her being bitten.

However, Sue says another dog was also taken to the vets just an hour later in the Pendeen area too.

She said: "Warning of Adders around Cornwall so please be vigilant if walking dogs where there is long grass.

"My dog got bitten when I was walking the coastal footpath and the adder was right next to it in a longish, small patch of grass."

She has since been updating her followers on Cara's progress as she struggled to overcome the reaction.

The pup was forced to return to the surgery for anti-venom treatment after the antihistamine failed to work.

And Sue says at one point vets thought things were 'touch and go'.

She said: "I have been sharing news of my spaniel on Facebook and thank all those well wishers.

"A summary so far: She was treated with antihistamine when the bite happened (Thursday afternoon) and whilst she seemed to be doing ok, by Friday afternoon the swelling was spreading as she was drawling.

"I took her back to the vets and she was admitted and given anti-venom.

"By late evening she seemed to be improving again but was kept in overnight."

By the weekend, Sue says she was in a stable condition but still struggling to recover, despite the speed in which they had managed to get her to a vet.

This meant Cara had to have a plasma transfusion, as her platelets got used up fighting, meaning her blood wouldn't clot properly and was causing bruising in her mouth and around her eyes.

Thankfully, she was then able to return home and, while still on medication, is now out of the woods.

Sue said: "All the swelling has gone down but some tests on her urine still leave some worries so we are back there again on Friday, just to check these have resolved as hoped.

"She is still on medication but 5 days after her encounter with the adder, it seems she has pulled through.

"Just to reassure folk though, the vet also said today that Cara’s reaction to the bite was the worst he had ever seen so we’ve been very unlucky."

Here's what to do if your dog gets bitten:

  • First of all, seek veterinary attention.
  • Stay calm - it’s important to remember not to panic as your dog is highly likely to fully recover if treatment is given promptly.
  • Carry your dog (rather than allow him or her to walk) to try and reduce the spread of venom around the body.
  • Bathe the wound in cold water to help control the swelling and try to keep your dog quiet and warm as you travel to your nearest vet practice.
  • As with any emergency, it is a good idea to ring your vet in advance to let them know what has happened and your estimated time of arrival. This means the practice can make sure they have a vet available to see you and it gives them time to prepare any treatments.
  • If you’re unaware your dog has been bitten but you notice anything which may be suggestive of a bite later on, it’s important that you ring your vet without delay, even if it is outside of normal opening hours.

You can find out more about what to do and signs to look out for here.

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