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Dog’s head left so swollen after snake bite that owner doesn’t recognise him
September 16, 2020
A inquisitive family dog was launched into the air by the sudden shock of a snake bite on the nose.
Ralf the four-year-old yellow Labrador was out walking with his owner Will Slade in Devil’s Dyke, West Sussex, when he found something interesting in the undergrowth.
That interesting something turned out to be an adder – the only venomous snake native to the UK.
Ralf was a few yards ahead of Will when he suddenly leaped into the air.
“He shot backward, out of the blue," Will said.
"All four paws were off the ground!”
Will recalls seeing "the last six inches" of the adder as it disappeared under a nearby hedge and immediately noticed that Ralf was not well.
“He wasn’t pulling on the lead like usual and he couldn’t jump into the back of the car," Will said.
"My main concern was to get him to the vets.”
The pair arrived at Acorn Veterinary Surgery in the early evening where it was later decided Ralf, who was left with two puncture-marks on his muzzle just a few centimetres from his nose, would need overnight supervision.
“We had a very quiet night without Ralf," Will said.
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When he returned home the following evening, his muzzle had swollen so much that Will could barely recognise him – but noted his dog handled it very well and made a full recovery within four days of visiting the practice.
“When he got back, he’d undergone a lot of treatment for the pain," he said.
"Apart from whining for attention, he was fine.”
Adders are the only venomous snakes native to the UK.
They usually live in sand dunes or woodland areas and enjoy sunbathing.
Most dogs who are bitten by adders make a full recovery within 5-7 days, but it’s still important to have their injuries checked out by your vet, who will also prescribe pain relief and medication.