Edinburgh vet treating dog who is in 'critical condition' after being bitten by a venomous adder

An eight-year-old Yorkshire Terrier has had his leg amputated after being bitten by a venomous snake.

The pup, named Junior, is in critical condition after he was bit by an adder while out on a walk in Perthshire on Thursday.

His owner Lucy noticed a small cut on his paw after returning home, but only began to worry on Saturday, when she discovered his paw was swollen.

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Junior was then taken to Edinburgh Veterinary School, where tests confirmed that he had been bitten by Scotland's only venomous snake.

Lucy told the Daily Record: "I was totally shocked when the first vet said it was a snake bite.

"I wasn't aware of the danger of snakes and it was a race against time to get him treated.

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"You never think that anything like this will happen to you.”

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The 8-year-old pup has had his leg amputated, after being bitten by Scotland's only venomous snake. (Photo credit: Lucy Gordon)
The 8-year-old pup has had his leg amputated, after being bitten by Scotland's only venomous snake. (Photo credit: Lucy Gordon)
The 8-year-old pup has had his leg amputated, after being bitten by Scotland's only venomous snake. (Photo credit: Lucy Gordon)

On Tuesday, Junior was transported from an ICU in Edinburgh to Aberdeen – where his leg was amputated in an attempt to prevent sepsis and organ failure.

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On her fundraising page, Lucy wrote: "The operation was a success and Junior is now a member of the three legged dogs club.”However, she has been told the pup is still at risk, as he hasn’t eaten for several days.

Adder bites are rarely fatal to humans. The last adder bite fatality in the UK occurred in the 1970s, when a Ayshire schoolboy died in hospital after being bitten while out walking near Dalmellington.

However, the snake’s bite can kill dogs if they do not receive quick treatment.

Adders are coming out of hibernation. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Adders are coming out of hibernation. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Adders are coming out of hibernation. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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In 2016, a champion show dog died after it was attacked by an adder in a back garden in Stirling. Three years later, a cocker spaniel from Edinburgh was forced to have her leg amputated, after she was bitten by the venomous reptile.

Lucy said her family would “do anything to get Junior the help he needs”, however, she noted: “the looming bills is a harsh reality and a scary thing to deal with”.

She has started a fundraising page to help raise the £4500 needed to treat Junior.

On the page, she wrote: “I want to take this opportunity to make fellow dog owners aware of the danger of Adders and grass snakes to their pets.

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"Junior showed no indication that he had been bitten- if you suspect this has happened to your pet then timing is everything. There is an anti-venom, but there's such a short time frame for vets to be able to administer the drug.”

Scottish SPCA head of education, policy and research, Gilly Mendes Ferreira, said: “Adders come out of hibernation in spring and are the only venomous snake in the UK.

“They are not aggressive snakes and only tend to use their venom as a last resort, for example if they are stepped on or cornered.

“Dogs can also occasionally disturb adders while on their walk. If you are worried your dog has been bitten by an adder please seek veterinary treatment immediately.

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“If anyone does come across an adder while out walking we’d simply advise them to give the snake plenty of space and leave it alone. If you are concerned you may have been bitten by an adder we would advise that you seek immediate medical attention.”

You can donate to Junior’s vet bills by visiting the GoFundMe page.