A senior vet is urging pet owners to be on their guard after a spate of incidents in which dogs have been bitten by adders near Wakefield.
Natalie McQuire, senior veterinary surgeon at Calder Vets has issued the warning after reports of two dogs being bitten in Newmillerdam in the past two weeks, with up to six attacks reported in other areas.
Adders, which are the UK’s only native poisonous snake, hibernate over the winter and emerge during the spring, putting dogs at increased risk during April and May in particular.
She said: “There have been several reported adder bites on dogs in the area over the past couple weeks.
“Adders generally hibernate, waking up when the weather warms up and they can bask in the sun.
“They only tend to bite in self-defence, for instance when they are stepped on accidentally or disturbed by an inquisitive dog but when they do, bites can be dangerous as they can induce lameness, vomiting and changes to the heart beat, blood pressure and breathing rate.
“Visually, bites typically result in swelling which is dark in colour and which can quickly become severe.
“If your dog has been bitten by an adder you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.”
Statistics show most adder bite cases survive, with one study suggesting fewer than one in 20 treated dogs died as a result of a bite.