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Adder bite in Glasgow park: A crucial reminder for dog walkers

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A four-year-old dog’s severe reaction to a bite from a European Adder in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park has reignited concerns about the presence of the UK’s only venomous snake and its implications for dog walkers. The European Adder, present throughout the country, generally resides in woodland, grassland, and heathland. In other words, it’s exactly where more curious dogs often wander off the beaten path to.

The incident unfolded when the dog began showing signs of distress the day following a park visit, with symptoms rapidly escalating. According to a Facebook post by Friends of Bellahouston Park, the initial signs were troubling: “My neighbour’s dog became lame on Sunday 7th April, he appeared okay but he wouldn’t put weight on [his] leg.” Veterinary investigations later revealed bite marks from an adder, confirming the cause of the illness.

As adders come out of hibernation in the spring and remain active through the summer, their interaction with pets and humans increases. The venom of the European Adder can cause significant pain and swelling and, while generally not life-threatening to humans, can be severe in animals. Medivet underscores the urgency of such incidents on their website, stating, “Adder bites can make a dog very ill and should be treated as an emergency. If you suspect that your dog has been bitten by an adder, you should take them to your vet immediately.”

Symptoms of an adder bite in dogs may include:

  • Rapid swelling at the bite site
  • Visible puncture wounds
  • Marked pain
  • Lameness or reluctance to use a limb
  • Increased temperature
  • Restlessness or agitation

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