Snake bite kills dog

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , crime reporter

A DOG owner has been left heartbroken after her pet died after suffering a bite from a venomous adder.

Bearded collie Ted had to be put to sleep by vets on Saturday more than four weeks after he was bitten by the deadly snake near to Smithills Coaching House .

Owner Pauline O’Brien presumed Ted, aged 11, was struggling with his arthritis when he started to limp the day after the walk in mid July.

But when his leg started to swell she became worried and took him to Vets4Pets in Moss Bank Way, Astley Bridge.

It was when vets shaved some of his fur they found the adder bite marks.

Ted was given injections after he became sick but gradually became weaker and weaker until he suffered kidney failure.

Ms O’Brien, a hairdresser, from Heaton took the decision to end her dog’s suffering.

She said: “I have lost my best friend. The vet said the phone never stopped ringing from people calling to see how he was.

“I hadn’t been near Smithills Coaching House for about a month before it happened. After he was bitten he kept being sick, he was injected a few times and we managed to get him eating for two days but we couldn’t go on with him not eating.

“He was getting weaker and weaker. The bite caused kidney failure. He was put on a drip but when he came home I could see he had had enough and thought he couldn’t go on like that. Unfortunately even though he was a big dog he couldn’t survive the bite.”

Ms O’Brien wants to warn other dog owners about the adder in a bid to prevent it happening to another pets It is also believed a man was also bitten by a snake in the area recently.

She said: “I think dog owners should avoid the area. I have previously seen notices up in caravan sites in areas out of Bolton warning people about snakes.

“There should be notices warning people. My grandchildren and I am devastated about it. I closed my hair dressing shop for the day when he died.”

Veterinary surgeon Ruth Harrison, from Vets4Pets, said the suspected adder bite was the first she had come across in 26 years of working in Bolton and Chorley.

She added: “We rarely see snake bites. We tend to see adders in the moors or wild areas. They try to avoid people. Ted’s bite looked very much like a snake bite.

“Adders are the only indigenous snakes in the UK that are venomous. The bite caused a nasty reaction, it damaged all the tissues in his leg. We were lucky that we managed to stop the reaction spreading up the leg. Different dogs are affected in different ways by the poison.”

Ted’s death comes several years after two Bolton men were bitten by adders.

Michael Lynn, was bitten in May, 2008, while walking his dog in Barrow Bridge.

And Derek Walsh, from Tonge Moor, believes he was bitten by an adder while out in Barrow Bridge in 2006.

Both men suffered serious reactions and had hospital treatment.

Russ Hedley, a nature expert who runs Nature, Talks and Walks, said it was unusual for adders to bite dogs and humans.

Mr Hedley added: “The only reason an adder would bite is if somebody was about to step on it, which is why two bites really is unusual. I have never come across it before. “Because of the warm weather snakes will have more energy and could be coming in closer contact with humans when looking for prey. They will have had a good breading season because of the warm weather.”

He said humans can have allergic reactions to the bites but they do not normally prove to be fatal.

Mr Hedley added Ted’s age may have caused him to react so badly to the bite.

Comments (24)

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9:18am Wed 21 Aug 13

marco999 says...

I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?
I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people? marco999
  • Score: 38

9:32am Wed 21 Aug 13

oftbewildered2 says...

what a terrible experience; I offer my condolences. I agree that the presence of adders should be drawn to the attention of the public.
what a terrible experience; I offer my condolences. I agree that the presence of adders should be drawn to the attention of the public. oftbewildered2
  • Score: 32

9:59am Wed 21 Aug 13

Jim271 says...

Adder bites are very very rare, more people and animals are killed with bee stings.

I don't think a knee jerk reaction is the way forward, Adders have been on the planet a lot longer than we have.
Adder bites are very very rare, more people and animals are killed with bee stings. I don't think a knee jerk reaction is the way forward, Adders have been on the planet a lot longer than we have. Jim271
  • Score: 18

10:08am Wed 21 Aug 13

Wolfie190 says...

Poor doggie and a woman was bitten by an adder not too long ago while walking round a reservoir not too far from Bolton, I too didnt think we had them round here.
Poor doggie and a woman was bitten by an adder not too long ago while walking round a reservoir not too far from Bolton, I too didnt think we had them round here. Wolfie190
  • Score: 12

10:27am Wed 21 Aug 13

NHLUFC says...

marco999 wrote:
I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?
Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.
[quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?[/p][/quote]Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world. NHLUFC
  • Score: 5

1:29pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Comment777 says...

Jim271 wrote:
Adder bites are very very rare, more people and animals are killed with bee stings.

I don't think a knee jerk reaction is the way forward, Adders have been on the planet a lot longer than we have.
So have elephants, but I should still like to be told if one or more is wandering around Barrow Bridge...
[quote][p][bold]Jim271[/bold] wrote: Adder bites are very very rare, more people and animals are killed with bee stings. I don't think a knee jerk reaction is the way forward, Adders have been on the planet a lot longer than we have.[/p][/quote]So have elephants, but I should still like to be told if one or more is wandering around Barrow Bridge... Comment777
  • Score: 23

2:20pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Reality50 says...

3 adder attacks in the Smithills and neighbouring Barrow Bridge areas in the last 7 years-two on humans and one on a dog-suggests a problem. The council need to post warning signs and with children playing often in that area then the council need to make people aware. Adders are best known in the East of England and to a degree the South but it seems they are venturing North and it is concerning especially in areas of human population. It may only be a small colony of adders but investigations need to be carried out by authorities.
3 adder attacks in the Smithills and neighbouring Barrow Bridge areas in the last 7 years-two on humans and one on a dog-suggests a problem. The council need to post warning signs and with children playing often in that area then the council need to make people aware. Adders are best known in the East of England and to a degree the South but it seems they are venturing North and it is concerning especially in areas of human population. It may only be a small colony of adders but investigations need to be carried out by authorities. Reality50
  • Score: 6

2:22pm Wed 21 Aug 13

marco999 says...

NHLUFC wrote:
marco999 wrote:
I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?
Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.
Right, thank you for that ar*sey comment but I like to walk my dogs and also my toddler in the countryside so in spite of what you or anyone else who happens to be ‘pro snake’ thinks, I would still prefer to be told if there exists a threat from poisonous reptiles. Whether or not the snakes rarely bite is of no interest to me, they can and do bite (obviously) so in that case I need to be warned so that I can make my own mind up whether or not to take the risk to walk among them. I am more interested in the potential situation, not the one formed from useless statistics.
[quote][p][bold]NHLUFC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?[/p][/quote]Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.[/p][/quote]Right, thank you for that ar*sey comment but I like to walk my dogs and also my toddler in the countryside so in spite of what you or anyone else who happens to be ‘pro snake’ thinks, I would still prefer to be told if there exists a threat from poisonous reptiles. Whether or not the snakes rarely bite is of no interest to me, they can and do bite (obviously) so in that case I need to be warned so that I can make my own mind up whether or not to take the risk to walk among them. I am more interested in the potential situation, not the one formed from useless statistics. marco999
  • Score: 8

2:27pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Reebok Rhythm says...

A very tragic story and a great loss for the lady. Although Adder attacks are rare, this is not the first time there has been an attack in close proximity of the area; only two years ago or so a walker was bitten by an Adder on his ankle as he was walking towards the Sixty-Three steps coming from Walker Fold near Barrow Bridge. As a strong advocate of nature and the natural world though, I don't believe there should be some ill-conceived culling of Adders as that would be ridiculous. I have to agree with Comment777 regarding the existence of Adders. It's hardly like we have the same problem as in the Southern Hemisphere with numerous poisonous snakes and other creatures so just walk carefully as these are isolated incidents. There's no need to blow everything out of proportion like people do.
A very tragic story and a great loss for the lady. Although Adder attacks are rare, this is not the first time there has been an attack in close proximity of the area; only two years ago or so a walker was bitten by an Adder on his ankle as he was walking towards the Sixty-Three steps coming from Walker Fold near Barrow Bridge. As a strong advocate of nature and the natural world though, I don't believe there should be some ill-conceived culling of Adders as that would be ridiculous. I have to agree with Comment777 regarding the existence of Adders. It's hardly like we have the same problem as in the Southern Hemisphere with numerous poisonous snakes and other creatures so just walk carefully as these are isolated incidents. There's no need to blow everything out of proportion like people do. Reebok Rhythm
  • Score: 14

4:31pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Jim271 says...

For Flips sake, your more likely to be stung by a bee.

Do we put up signs for that???
For Flips sake, your more likely to be stung by a bee. Do we put up signs for that??? Jim271
  • Score: 8

5:41pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Donkey Stone says...

Jim271 wrote:
For Flips sake, your more likely to be stung by a bee.

Do we put up signs for that???
You are also much more likely to be bitten by a dog.
[quote][p][bold]Jim271[/bold] wrote: For Flips sake, your more likely to be stung by a bee. Do we put up signs for that???[/p][/quote]You are also much more likely to be bitten by a dog. Donkey Stone
  • Score: 11

6:10pm Wed 21 Aug 13

mr.mark.c says...

Beautiful creatures, I have only ever seen one in the wild and that was near Coniston during a backwoods camping trip.
Beautiful creatures, I have only ever seen one in the wild and that was near Coniston during a backwoods camping trip. mr.mark.c
  • Score: 2

6:35pm Wed 21 Aug 13

davidjb says...

didn't know adders had a 'breading' season.

Discovery channel has let me down.
didn't know adders had a 'breading' season. Discovery channel has let me down. davidjb
  • Score: 4

8:27pm Wed 21 Aug 13

dougie kay says...

only mammals and humans breed at random, most other life forms have breeding seasons. usually in late winter /early spring
only mammals and humans breed at random, most other life forms have breeding seasons. usually in late winter /early spring dougie kay
  • Score: -1

9:23pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Citizen Cane says...

marco999 wrote:
NHLUFC wrote:
marco999 wrote:
I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?
Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.
Right, thank you for that ar*sey comment but I like to walk my dogs and also my toddler in the countryside so in spite of what you or anyone else who happens to be ‘pro snake’ thinks, I would still prefer to be told if there exists a threat from poisonous reptiles. Whether or not the snakes rarely bite is of no interest to me, they can and do bite (obviously) so in that case I need to be warned so that I can make my own mind up whether or not to take the risk to walk among them. I am more interested in the potential situation, not the one formed from useless statistics.
Firstly, you need to be informed that the adder is not poisonous, it is venomous.

Secondly, I'd like to be informed if there are dogs around since their bite is potentially fatal and also I should be warned that dog owners often just let their hound carp and run so there is a risk of crotte on the sole.

I'd also like to be warned if their is a risk of gobby toddlers being around who might disturb the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.

I'd like to see these warning signs with plates 2m by 2m, every 10 metres in every direction and then I can make an informed decision too.
[quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]NHLUFC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?[/p][/quote]Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.[/p][/quote]Right, thank you for that ar*sey comment but I like to walk my dogs and also my toddler in the countryside so in spite of what you or anyone else who happens to be ‘pro snake’ thinks, I would still prefer to be told if there exists a threat from poisonous reptiles. Whether or not the snakes rarely bite is of no interest to me, they can and do bite (obviously) so in that case I need to be warned so that I can make my own mind up whether or not to take the risk to walk among them. I am more interested in the potential situation, not the one formed from useless statistics.[/p][/quote]Firstly, you need to be informed that the adder is not poisonous, it is venomous. Secondly, I'd like to be informed if there are dogs around since their bite is potentially fatal and also I should be warned that dog owners often just let their hound carp and run so there is a risk of crotte on the sole. I'd also like to be warned if their is a risk of gobby toddlers being around who might disturb the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. I'd like to see these warning signs with plates 2m by 2m, every 10 metres in every direction and then I can make an informed decision too. Citizen Cane
  • Score: -10

10:38pm Wed 21 Aug 13

Superfly79 says...

Feel very sorry for the lady who lost her dog. I don't live to far away from the Smithills and Barrow Bridge area and often go there for family walks... Are some people seriously suggesting having warning signs with WARNING VENOMOUS SNAKES ON THE LOOSE plastered all over the place...... Where do we stop!! Dogs, Bees, Wasps, Spiders, Chavs....
Feel very sorry for the lady who lost her dog. I don't live to far away from the Smithills and Barrow Bridge area and often go there for family walks... Are some people seriously suggesting having warning signs with WARNING VENOMOUS SNAKES ON THE LOOSE plastered all over the place...... Where do we stop!! Dogs, Bees, Wasps, Spiders, Chavs.... Superfly79
  • Score: 6

7:55am Thu 22 Aug 13

Bob Shaftoe says...

Dog 0 Adder 1. C'mon you Adders!
Dog 0 Adder 1. C'mon you Adders! Bob Shaftoe
  • Score: -11

8:28am Thu 22 Aug 13

Jim271 says...

Can we have signs on the outskirts of Bolton Town Centre,

WARNING DANGEROUS PONDLIFE!!!
Can we have signs on the outskirts of Bolton Town Centre, WARNING DANGEROUS PONDLIFE!!! Jim271
  • Score: 3

10:16am Thu 22 Aug 13

Towny1981 says...

Citizen Cane wrote:
marco999 wrote:
NHLUFC wrote:
marco999 wrote:
I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?
Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.
Right, thank you for that ar*sey comment but I like to walk my dogs and also my toddler in the countryside so in spite of what you or anyone else who happens to be ‘pro snake’ thinks, I would still prefer to be told if there exists a threat from poisonous reptiles. Whether or not the snakes rarely bite is of no interest to me, they can and do bite (obviously) so in that case I need to be warned so that I can make my own mind up whether or not to take the risk to walk among them. I am more interested in the potential situation, not the one formed from useless statistics.
Firstly, you need to be informed that the adder is not poisonous, it is venomous.

Secondly, I'd like to be informed if there are dogs around since their bite is potentially fatal and also I should be warned that dog owners often just let their hound carp and run so there is a risk of crotte on the sole.

I'd also like to be warned if their is a risk of gobby toddlers being around who might disturb the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.

I'd like to see these warning signs with plates 2m by 2m, every 10 metres in every direction and then I can make an informed decision too.
What a dick you are, sir.
[quote][p][bold]Citizen Cane[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]NHLUFC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]marco999[/bold] wrote: I offer sincere sympathy for this woman's loss. If it were my dog I would be devastated. Like most people, I had no idea that Adders lived up here in the 'cold' north. If snakes that can deliver a potentially deadly bite are living and breeding in an area then surely the council has an obligation to put up notices to warn people?[/p][/quote]Perhaps the Council could come round and wipe your bottom as well. Put signs up and there'll be nut cases all over the hills trying to kill them. These occurences are extremely rare and a relatively small price to pay for the presence of such a fantastic creature. It's remarkable that these animals have survived persecution and comments form journalists like "deadly snake" don't help. It's a shame for this woman but there's no shortage of dogs needing a home but venomous snakes are being persecuted to extinction all over the world.[/p][/quote]Right, thank you for that ar*sey comment but I like to walk my dogs and also my toddler in the countryside so in spite of what you or anyone else who happens to be ‘pro snake’ thinks, I would still prefer to be told if there exists a threat from poisonous reptiles. Whether or not the snakes rarely bite is of no interest to me, they can and do bite (obviously) so in that case I need to be warned so that I can make my own mind up whether or not to take the risk to walk among them. I am more interested in the potential situation, not the one formed from useless statistics.[/p][/quote]Firstly, you need to be informed that the adder is not poisonous, it is venomous. Secondly, I'd like to be informed if there are dogs around since their bite is potentially fatal and also I should be warned that dog owners often just let their hound carp and run so there is a risk of crotte on the sole. I'd also like to be warned if their is a risk of gobby toddlers being around who might disturb the peace and tranquillity of the countryside. I'd like to see these warning signs with plates 2m by 2m, every 10 metres in every direction and then I can make an informed decision too.[/p][/quote]What a dick you are, sir. Towny1981
  • Score: -1

2:36pm Thu 22 Aug 13

Wolfie190 says...

I'm an animal lover (except chavs and Romanians of course) and yeah signs would be scaremongering but thanks to this article I will have more awareness when walking round there.
I'm an animal lover (except chavs and Romanians of course) and yeah signs would be scaremongering but thanks to this article I will have more awareness when walking round there. Wolfie190
  • Score: 4

6:23pm Thu 22 Aug 13

Citizen Cane says...

What's wrong Towny81 - been bitten by a snake, dog or toddler and feel that the warning initiative is too late for you to have made an informed decision not to leave your bedsit?
What's wrong Towny81 - been bitten by a snake, dog or toddler and feel that the warning initiative is too late for you to have made an informed decision not to leave your bedsit? Citizen Cane
  • Score: 1

9:17pm Thu 22 Aug 13

kasfig says...

Anyone with half an ounce of knowledge of local wildlife knows there are no adders to be found anywhere near Bolton
Anyone with half an ounce of knowledge of local wildlife knows there are no adders to be found anywhere near Bolton kasfig
  • Score: -6

1:18pm Fri 23 Aug 13

Labradorlover says...

Dear Ms O`Brien. As a fellow dog owner who, less than 2 weeks ago lost my beloved chocolate labrador, I can empathize with your loss of Ted. The grief is horrendous. Try to ignore (in fact don`t bother reading) some of the nasty, childish comments written by others. I have another, elderly labrador who often trots off into the grassy areas near Rivington and never for a minute did I think about the possibility of adders being around. Thankyou for highlighting this problem. Wishing you well and sleep tight Ted, playing at Rainbow Bridge with my much loved labrador.
Dear Ms O`Brien. As a fellow dog owner who, less than 2 weeks ago lost my beloved chocolate labrador, I can empathize with your loss of Ted. The grief is horrendous. Try to ignore (in fact don`t bother reading) some of the nasty, childish comments written by others. I have another, elderly labrador who often trots off into the grassy areas near Rivington and never for a minute did I think about the possibility of adders being around. Thankyou for highlighting this problem. Wishing you well and sleep tight Ted, playing at Rainbow Bridge with my much loved labrador. Labradorlover
  • Score: 7

10:15am Tue 27 Aug 13

Love Bolton says...

I was walking with my family on Bank Holiday Monday and the head gardener from Smithills told us that there had been 2 dog fatalities from Adder bites in the past 2 weeks and one person bitten by an Adder. It seems they may be acting in this way as they have young they are protecting and seem to have positioned themselves in more of a thoroughfare than usual. We didn't see anything thankfully.

Please do take care.
I was walking with my family on Bank Holiday Monday and the head gardener from Smithills told us that there had been 2 dog fatalities from Adder bites in the past 2 weeks and one person bitten by an Adder. It seems they may be acting in this way as they have young they are protecting and seem to have positioned themselves in more of a thoroughfare than usual. We didn't see anything thankfully. Please do take care. Love Bolton
  • Score: 0

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