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One tough terrier

Warning to dog owners after snake bite nearly kills pet

This brave little Border Terrier is lucky to be alive after being bitten by an adder.

Honey, who is almost eight, was attacked by the UK’s only venomous snake while walking on a track between Tindale and Halton Lea Gate.

Owner Ian Ryding, 40, of Stanwix, Carlisle, said: “She hadn’t gone far, but I called her back and she was just sat in the middle of the track looking sorry for herself.

“Honey obviously had something wrong with her leg and I had a look – her leg had gone stiff and was starting to swell. I couldn’t get her to put weight on it. We got her back to the vehicle and she started being sick,” he continued.

“I got her out of the car and put her on the track and she was woozy and vomiting. Then she started soiling herself as well.”

Ian is a warden at RSPB Geltsdale and so is aware of the dangers of adders and suspected a bite.

“We know there are adders in that area and one had been seen that day,” he said.

Worried about her condition, Ian rushed Honey to the nearest vets but, after being told she would be kept in for the night, he decided he would be able to transfer her to his local vets, Eden Veterinary Centre.

They put the Border terrier onto a drip and, once she was comfortable, sent Ian home.

“They called us at about 7.15pm and said we needed to go in, because she was on death’s door,” he continued. “She had a really bad reaction [to the venom] and at that point she was on oxygen and had pain killers. Her leg was still swelling up and stretching towards her abdomen.

“We thought we’d lost her.”

At her worst, the dog’s heart rate was recorded at 240 beats per minute – it should be 110 beats per minute.

Incredibly, Honey battled back and, after several days in intensive care, was allowed home.

Ian said: “She was very lucky. My advice to any pet owner is if you suspect they have been bitten by a snake, then get them to a vet as soon as possible.

“Snake venom is a poison and if they have a reaction as well… They can go into shock.”

A spokeswoman for Eden Vets said: “Thankfully, some quick thinking by her owners and the determination of our veterinary team ensured that she received prompt treatment, which ultimately saved her life.

“The adder is the only venomous snake native to the UK and can be found in a variety of habitats from heathland to forests. They will strike in self-defence if disturbed or provoked, with bites generally occurring from June to August, commonly on the lower limb or face.”

She continued: “Within two hours of being bitten, Honey was exhibiting many of the signs. Thankfully, she responded to the anti-venom and was finally discharged from the surgery after four days and continues to make a steady recovery. She is being closely monitored for long-term effects.”

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