Dog owners are spending £3,500 to save their pet’s life after it was bitten by a viper


Sam the Staffie spent three days fighting for his life after being bitten in the nose by a viper while walking on the Gower in South West Wales.

Sam the Staffie spent three days fighting for his life after being bitten in the nose by a viper

Owners of a beloved dog left to fight for his life after being bitten by a viper.

Sam the Staffie spent three days fighting for his life after being bitten in the nose by a viper while walking on the Gower in South West Wales.

He is now recovering at home, but his owner Charlotte wants to warn others of the dangers of biting amid a growing number of reported incidents, Wales Reports Online.

The vet bill cost over £3,500 to save her dog’s life and Charlotte, who asked us not to use her surname, said it was worth every penny.

Following her horrific experience, she urges other pet owners to make sure they get pet insurance if they can.

Charlotte spotted the snake curled up in the path just before it bit her dog in the nose


Sarah Welsh)

She and Sam had been out for a walk in the Llangennith area of ​​the Gower, a trip they often take, when Charlotte spotted the snake curled up in the path.

Adders are most active between April and July, which is also when the majority of bites have been reported historically. Adults are described as around 50-60cm long and have a black and brown zigzag pattern along the back and V- or X-shaped markings on the back of the head.

“I’m absolutely terrified of snakes, so I’m always on the lookout for them,” Charlotte said.

“I just started screaming when I saw him cowering in the path. Sam came to see what was going on and he bit him on the nose before we could get him away.

“We knew we had to get him to a vet straight away but ours was over an hour and a half away. We got in the car and called them and they said take him to the nearest one and Gave us details of the veterinary hospital that would take us.

Sam is now recovering at home

“We phoned them to make sure they had anti-venom as not all practices stock it. At first he seemed fine and still full of energy, so they just gave him an antihistamine to start with and said they would keep him on so they could monitor his condition.”

Sam was kept under observation but about eight hours after he was bitten the vets became concerned as the bump on his nose had become much larger and there was swelling in his head and neck which was beginning to affect his breathing. “We were getting multiple calls throughout the day and night,” Charlotte said.

“They decided it was time to give him an anti-venom but the side effects they warn you about are terrifying. They even warned that it could lead to death. It’s the same treatment they give humans because there is no specific one for dogs and it can cause them a lot of problems.

“Every dog ​​is different and reacts differently. At this point the swelling was so bad he couldn’t eat or drink and he was breathing like a dinosaur and we were told to brace ourselves.”

It costs £819 per 5ml vial of antivenom and Sam needed two before he started to overcome the worst of his symptoms. Charlotte said: “Sam is worth every penny and we have insurance so we weren’t too worried about the £3,500 bill but it still had to be paid in full up front and then we can collect it.

“In conversations we had with friends and locals in Gower while Sam was at the veterinary hospital, many told us that they had seen loads of adders over the past couple of years.

“One person said that last spring there were lots of vipers sunbathing on the beach and another dog came to the vet that night with a bite. They said they didn’t hadn’t seen a dog bite in years and had two in the same night.

“Whether it’s warmer or there have been fewer people in recent years due to the restrictions is certainly a cause for concern and I would like to make sure that more people are aware of the seriousness of the viper bites and make sure they keep a close eye on their dogs.”

If your dog is bitten by a viper, experts say you should:

  • Transport your dog as this will help prevent the venom from circulating further into his body

  • Bathe the wound in cold water

  • Keep your dog warm and as calm and still as possible to prevent the venom from spreading

There are three types of snake in the UK, but adders are the only venomous species. The PDSA states that viper bites are especially common between June and August and that it is most common for a dog to be bitten on the face, neck or lower leg.

Adders are normally small gray/brown snakes with a distinctive V-shaped mark on their heads and a dark zigzag pattern on their backs. They are most common in tall grass, woodland, moorland and near the coast in sand dunes and along coastal paths.

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