Vets warn owners as dog fights 'biggest wound they'd ever seen' after adder bite

Wilf dog adder bite
Poor Wilf spend 12 days in the hospital (Picture: My Family Vets)


5-year-old miniature schnauzer Wilf was out for a normal stroll back in July while his owners were on holiday and he was being looked after by close relatives.

But, unlike the standard items a pup comes across on a walk, Wilf happened to bump into an adder snake and became seriously ill.

The wound Wilf suffered was described by his vet at Vale Vets, a MyFamilyVets practice in Dursley as the ‘biggest she’d ever seen.’

It’s believed his huge wounds came from an adder bite that also caused severe pain and began to necrotise.

Wilf developed major skin damage that affected his chin, neck and chest, and spent a whole 12 days in the practice before it was deemed safe for him to leave.

Thankfully he is now recovering with the odd trip to get his dressing change, but the vets and his owners want to ensure other pets don’t have to go through the same thing Wilf did.

Dog adder bite
It was just a normal walkies for Wilf (Picture: My Family Vets)
‘We were due to pick him [Wilf] up when my in-laws phoned,’ says Wilf’s owner Helen Lewis, a 50-year-old school teacher and mother-of-two, who lives in Dursley.

Use a carabiner to attach it to a belt loop for a long hike.

‘They told us something was up – we drove over there to collect him and we could tell right away that he wasn’t himself.’

‘Although Wilf loves his visits to Hampshire, he’s usually ecstatic when he reunites with us. This time, he barely moved – he didn’t even respond to food or biscuits.’

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(Picture: The skin began a process of necrosis (Picture: My Family Vets))
Wilf’s owners acted quickly and brought him to Vale Vets, although initially the skin damage wasn’t fully developed and he had to undergo multiple tests during which an array of illnesses – including meningitis – were ruled out.
‘The waiting and not knowing was just awful,’ says Helen. ‘But the practice were absolutely fantastic.

‘When Wilf’s symptoms were at their worst, they called me twice a day to keep me informed. They explained everything patiently, and in plenty of detail.’

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(Picture: Wilf still has to go back to the vets every week to have dressings changes (Picture: My Family Vets))

‘He’s gone through so much, being fed through a tube, various sedatives. The ordeal began back in July and he still has wounds beneath his chest today.’

Thankfully, 96% of dogs make a full recovery from an adder bite within five days, but it’s important for owners to be aware that there are snakes here in the UK and know what to do if their pet is bitten.

A Wagging Tail Does Not Always Equal a Happy Dog. Don’t approach a strange dog just because it’s wagging it’s tail. Tail wagging isn’t always the universal sign of happiness – it can also indicate fear or insecurity. Be sure to teach your children about the basics of dog bite prevention.

MyFamilyVets advises: ‘Try to keep your dog still to avoid the venom spreading throughout their body. If you’re able to do so, carry them home or back to the car – the less your dog moves, the less chance the poison gets to travel through their bloodstream.’

You should then contact your vet as soon as possible so medication can be administered.

Thankfully Wilf has had a happy ending despite the months of hardship he’s been through.

‘Honestly,’ says Helen, ‘He’s amazing. After all he’s been through, he manages to remain his sociable, gentle self.’

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