A ‘shocked’ dog owner has told how her cocker spaniel nearly died after being bitten by an adder which it trod on at a beauty spot popular with families.
Christine Curtis, 58, had returned from a walk with three-year-old Luna at Buxton’s Gadley Woods on Saturday when she heard the dog ‘crying in pain’ and unable to stand.
Former nurse Christine initially thought the working shooting dog had torn a muscle but her leg had swollen up to the ‘size of a ham’ so she took her vet’s advice over the phone and rushed her to the practice.
The dog was shivering and unresponsive during the drive to Bakewell Vets Practice and after they shaved her the snake bite was revealed - with a swollen puncture wound about the size of a 50p piece.
Luna was given a course of anti-venom and is now recovering however Christine believes if she and her vets had not reacted so quickly the beloved pooch would have died.
She said: “I’m a nurse so I knew there was something very wrong with the dog.
“Even though the vets had no appointments they advised me to come in immediately - everybody acting so quickly saved the dog’s life.
“If I had left her at home and gone out for a round of golf or something she would been dead when I got back.”
Mum-of-three Christine said she wanted to urge dog owners in the same situation to prevent their pets from moving to stop the poison from spreading - something she failed to do herself. The adder is the UK’s only venomous snake and can be spotted basking in sunshine in woodland glades and on heathlands between March and October.
According to the Wildlife Trust a bite can be painful but is almost never fatal.
Vets4Pets advise to carry your dog if it is bitten - rather than allow him or her to walk - to try and reduce the spread of venom around the body.
Alan Walker, manager at Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park, said: “As owners of Gadley Wood, Buxton Civic Association welcome dog walkers to the woods and advise dogs are kept on leads to protect nesting woodland birds and other wildlife.
“I’m glad Luna has made a full recovery.”
Peter Phillipson, chairman of Buxton Civic Association, added: “Snakes of any kind are extremely rare in and around Buxton. They do not like the combination of high altitude, cold winters and wet climate of the Peak District.
“I have lived in Buxton for over 35 years and for ten of those years I worked in wildlife conservation and have never heard of a record of an adder in the area.
“The nearest breeding colony that I am aware of is on the moors near Sheffield - so this is a very rare occurrence.”
Chris Monk, volunteer for the Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group, said: “Adders are actually very timid creatures normally - their main predators are large birds such as crows or buzzards and they just slink away.
“However, when dogs come barging through vegetation quickly on to them that’s when they could potentially bite.
“The advice is to keep dogs on the lead and under control - uncontrolled dogs could also disturb ground nesting birds.
“If your dog is bitten by an adder take it to the vet immediately.”
Adders are protected by law in Great Britain. It is illegal to intentionally kill or injure adders, or to trade in them.