Beware of Snake Bites

With the lovely hot weather over the weekend recently we have had our first snake bite. The recipient was a 13 year old Labrador who didn’t hear the hissing or notice the snake reared up ready to strike. Luckily it was a grass snake and although it is said that they don’t bite the dog ended up with a large swollen ear.

The British Isles are home to two species of snake.

Grass snakes are 70 -100cms in length, long and slim and a greenish colour with darker marks along their sides. They have a distinctive yellow black collar at the back of their head and if you get close enough round pupils to their eyes – like a dog. They are shy and if disturbed will generally “play dead” or release a foul smelling material from their anal glands.

Adders are 60-70cms, shorter and squatter and the back ground colour varies from white/cream for males, to grey/brown and even black for females. They have a distinctive black zigzag mark down their back and a X or V mark on their head. They have slit pupils like a cat. They are venomous and their bites cause massive swelling and circulatory compromise.

Snakes bites are very rare but if you think your dog had been bitten by an adder then prompt treatment is required.