By Helen Shingler:
Friends from Sussex arrived in the area on Saturday afternoon for a short break in Bude. Sadly the holiday did not start well, as on Sunday morning at 7.00 am they had to take one of their two dogs to Penbode Vets as it had become ill overnight and they were very concerned. Initially, they had no idea what was wrong, the dog was lethargic due to a high temperature, unsteady on his legs, extremely thirsty and had a swollen muzzle. The Vet detected the two puncture wounds on the dog’s nose which confirmed it was a snake bite. Fortunately, our friends got help quickly and ‘George’ is now on the mend and hopefully back with his owners today.
Adder bites are more frequent in the spring when the snakes are just out of hibernation. However, cases are also seen throughout the summer as adders become more active when the weather improves. Sometimes they can be seen basking in the sun. It’s worth bearing in mind that wild snakes are protected by law in the UK and it’s an offence to intentionally injure or kill an adder.
The best way to prevent an adder bite is to be aware of any possible adder hotspots in the areas you walk your dog/s. Keep to paths when walking in these areas, avoid long grass and consider keeping your dog on a leash so they don’t disturb any adders in the undergrowth. If you do come across an adder it’s best to remain still and let it pass safely. An adder bite should be treated as an emergency and a dog that has been bitten should be seen by a vet as quickly as possible.
Adders do not ‘attack’ people or dogs unless disturbed and dogs can be curious. I’m hoping this timely warning will raise awareness that adders are enjoying this warmer weather as much as we do. We are blessed with so many beautiful places to walk in North Cornwall, we just need to be slightly more vigilant when walking in some places than others.