Warning as pet dog dies after snake bite in field at Kirkintilloch

The adder is the UK's only venomous snake
The adder is the UK's only venomous snake

A family are heartbroken over the loss of their beloved pet dog after it was bitten by an adder in a field at Kirkintilloch.

The nine-year-old German Shepherd is believed to have died of sepsis a few days after the snake bite last Sunday at Waterside village near the football pitch.

The Scottish SPCA is advising dog owners to be vigilant when walking their pets and to check them over when they return home.

The devastated owner of the dog who died also warned others in social media posts on McMutt’s Professional Dog Walking Facebook site.

He said: “We are absolutely heartbroken. Happened in the field at Waterside between the football pitch and the school.

“Our dog got sepsis. It happened on the Sunday but we didn’t realise until Tuesday night that something was wrong and obviously the delay didn’t help.”

A friend of the family said: “It was a beautiful big dog. Very sad.”

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said this week: ‘We are very sad to hear about the passing of a dog due to complications from a snake bite.

“We urge dog owners to be vigilant when walking their dogs and thoroughly check them over when they return home.

“Dogs could pick up a tick, a cut from sharp materials, or in this case, an injury from a wild animal. If you have any concerns about your pet, consult a vet immediately.”

The adder, also known as the common European viper, is the only venomous snake native to the UK and is a protected species.

They are not known to be aggressive. The snakes will only use their venom as a last means of defence and this is usually if they are caught or trodden on.

There have been reports of dogs being bit by adders in Scotland over the years.

Back in 2017, there was a spate of snake bites reported by dog owners in hills at Finzean, near Banchory, and Fettercairn in Aberdeenshire, although none of the bites were fatal.

At the time, Lianne MacLennan, co-ordinator of Angus Glens and Grampian Moorland groups, said: “The best advice is to get the dogs to a vet as soon as possible for antibiotics, although we are aware most vets do not stock anti-venom.

“Adders have always been known to bite dogs. The likeliest cause is the weather with the adders lying out trying to get the sun on their backs.

“If they are asleep their instinctive reaction is to bite if stood upon.”

Adder bites often result in dark swelling and can lead to breathing difficulties if they are in the facial area. Dogs may show signs of pain and appear nervous, with other potential symptoms including lethargy, bruising, vomiting, restlessness, dehydration and bruising.