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Case Study: Adder Bite…

Late April, just after a short spell of warmth, a three year old Cocker spaniel, Toby, was brought into us by his owners. Toby had been out on a walk and came back with a swollen face. When he was examined his face was swollen and what was thought to be a sting was pulled out of his face; with these findings it was thought most likely that Toby had been stung by a wasp or bee, however we couldn’t rule out the possibility of an adder bite.

Toby was treated with Piriton as though he had been stung and admitted to monitor the swelling throughout the day. The swelling progressed and on further examination of his face, two puncture marks were visible and bruising was extending along his lips and down his neck; more consistent with an adder bite than a sting. It was decided to contact the Veterinary Poisons Information Centre to get the most current thoughts on treating a suspected adder bite.

Treatment for the adder bite was initiated which involved starting Toby on intravenous fluids and giving him a dose of anti-venom. Toby was monitored overnight by our dedicated out of hours veterinary team and remained stable overnight. By the morning the swelling on his neck had reduced and he remained very bright. Toby’s owners opted to keep him hospitalised with us for further 24 hours to monitor him before going home.

A few days later Toby came back in for a check up; the swelling had now extended into his armpit but he still remained very bright and bouncy. At this point we also performed a blood test on him as adder venom can cause problems with animals’ organs; the good news for Toby was that his blood test was all within normal limits.

Hopefully Toby will learn from his adder encounter and steer clear of them from now on!


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