A Doncaster woman is urging dog-owners to be on high-alert for snakes, after her eight month puppy was left two hours away from death after being bitten by an adder during a family walk.
The terrifying incident occurred as Leanne Holmes was enjoying a walk with her husband and children through a public footpath through Thorne Moors, when suddenly their eight-month-old Schoodle puppy, Winnie, leapt into the air. Just moments later, Leanne, aged 33, noticed an adder crawling over a part of the path nearby, which is when she said she and her husband, Chris, realised little Winnie had been bitten.
Leanne, of Lockwood Close, Thorne said: “When I saw the adder, I knew that’s what had happened. It was just basking in a little sun-trap on the path after biting Winnie.
“I couldn’t believe it, I’ve never seen a snake in the wild before.
“After it bit her she ran off, and we ran to go and get her when we realised. I Googled what to do, and the advice was to pick them up because if they continue to walk the venom can spread to the rest of their body so that’s what my husband did.
“We phoned the emergency vet, because ours isn’t open on a Saturday, and they told us we had two hours to get her to them and for her to have the anti-venom and pain relief or she might not have made it.
“We were a fair walk from the car, so it was very worrying really.
“When we got there, the vet said he couldn’t tell if she had been bitten because of her fur, and that he’d have to shave her.
“After shaving her on the one side, where she appeared to be sensitive, the vet found the bite. He said that the snake had got one fang in her, and that if she hadn’t been wearing her harness and the snake had managed to get the other fang in that she might not have made it.
“To any dog-owners reading this, I want to say please make sure you look out for snakes when you’re walking your dogs because the vet told there are more and more adders around now, and that they’ve become really cheeky, going into people’s gardens and playing fields and things.”
Following the snake attack on July 2, Winnie is making a good recovery now - much to the relief of Leanne’s daughter, Poppy, 9, and five-year-old son, Joe.
However, Leanne, says the situation could have been much worse if the family had failed to take out pet insurance, after the family were hit with a £1,600 vet bill for Winnie’s treatment.
She continued: “I don’t know what we’d have done if we hadn’t been able to afford her treatment.”
Adders are the only venomous snakes native to Britain, and have the most highly developed venom injecting mechanism of all snakes, but they are not usually aggressive animals.
An RSPCA spokesperson said: “This sounds like a very upsetting situation.
“The warmer weather at the moment will bring them out to bask in the sun on rocks or in grass.
“If you are walking your dog in area known to have adders, try to keep your them on a lead. Animals with suspected adder bites should be kept as quiet and calm as possible, and examined urgently by a vet.
“If you spot a snake in your garden and are unsure what to do, please call the RSPCA’s 24-helpline on 0300 1234 999.”