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Snake bites pet dog while on a walk with owner.

Byline: IAN ROBSON Reporter ian.robson@ncjmedia.co.uk

A PET dog was bitten by a poisonous snake on a family day out.

Gentle giant Hooch, a dogue de Bordeaux, was bitten on the face while walking at Derwent Reservoir and had to be given a life-saving antidote and spend three days in the care of a vet.

Now there are concerns other pets or even children could be attacked by poisonous adders.

Hooch was attacked while walking with his owners Karen Forster and Dean Lowden.

But it was only when they returned to their home in Blackhill, near Consett, they realised he had been bitten after they noticed a swelling the size of a tennis ball on his face.

They took him to Value Vets in Consett, part of Westway Veterinary Group, before he was transferred to their main hospital at West Road in Newcastle.

Karen said: "It was a real shock and people need to be aware that there are adders out there in the countryside.

"I'm very concerned that children and small dogs might be in danger.

"I noticed Hooch was quiet when we got home from the walk, but thought it was just because it was a warm day.

"At first I thought he had a tennis ball in his mouth, but when I looked closer, there was a huge swelling on his cheek and down his neck."

Mum-of-three Karen, 31, said she adopted Hooch from previous owners and, despite his size, he is still a puppy of 20 months.

She said: "When people see him they are wary of him but he is absolutely lovely. We go walking at the reservoir all the time and I have never once seen any snake there until now.

"The snake must have been next to a path and Hooch had put his nose into the foliage at the side of the path.

"At the time he didn't yelp, or squeal, or show any sign that he had been bitten.

"Dean saw the snake and took a picture of it without realising what had happened.

"He's been well out of sorts since it happened but he is getting extra hugs."

Karen and Dean were accompanied on the walk by Dean's sister Cheryl Lowden and her three-year-old son, Riley, who was only a foot away from the adder on the path.

Dean said: "I noticed the snake and picked it up for a photo as I thought it was just a grass snake, but later discovered it was an adder.

"I'm worried what might have happened if my nephew had been bitten." The couple have three children, Kane, 13, Demi, six, and four-year-old Joe who were all at school when the dog was bitten.

Westway Veterinary Group is warning pet owners to take extra care when walking their dogs during the summer when warmer weather brings snakes out into the open.

Head nurse Kay Sanderson said: "This case is fortunately very rare, but owners should be aware that there are snakes out there in the countryside and we do get the odd dog coming in after being bitten during the summer.

"Our advice is to always seek veterinary assistance if your dog is bitten." Hooch spent three days in hospital but is now recovering at home.

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An adder

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 16, 2016
Words:550
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