Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Adder bites in dogs

The European adder (Vipera berus berus) is the only venomous snake native to the UK. It is also found across northern Europe and Asia, but not in Ireland.

Adders vary in colour; males can be grey to white and the females are shades of brown or copper. The adder can be recognised by its black/brown zig-zag down its back and a V-shaped marking on the head. Adults grow up to 60 cm in length.

The European adder is not an aggressive snake and only bites when provoked. Bites rarely occur during the winter when the snake is in hibernation but are frequent during the summer months. Adders are found in heaths, sand dunes, moorlands and woodland margins in summer.

Adder bite: swollen nose©Glen Cousquer

What are the potential signs of adder bite in dogs?

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How do I reduce the risk of adder bite in my dog?

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What should I do if I think my dog has been bitten by an adder?

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