What do I do if an Adder bites my Cairn Terrier? June 28, 2019 16:42

What do I do if an Adder bites my Cairn Terrier?


Remain calm and keep your dog calm.  Carry him to a vet for attention.  By not letting him move too much you delay the toxin from the adder’s venomous bite entering the circulatory system.

Adder bites are very uncommon; your dog would be really unlucky to get one.  In 2015 there were a hundred cases, sadly five died.  I thought I would get some facts together on the subject, even though the risk is minimal, as this is the time of year adders come out from hibernation and start basking in the sun to warm up.  Their favourite time is between three and four in the afternoon.


If you are interested in owning a Cairn Terrier as a family pet, here are some other articles that you may find useful:

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Do Cairn Terriers have health problems?

How much exercise do Cairn Terriers need?

Are Cairn Terriers easy to train?


The best place to spot adders is sand dunes, moorland and woodland edges.  They are the UK’s only venomous snake, and only bite when threatened; otherwise they will actively avoid interaction.  It’s easy to see how a curious dog exploring the undergrowth could step on one. 

They are a small snake growing up to seventy centimetres long, marked with a black zigzag down the spine and a V or a X on the head, you can also get black ones.

You will know after about two hours if your dog has been bitten, signs include swelling, bleeding, pain and lameness.  If the poison reaches the lymphatic system it can cause widespread inflammatory reaction leading to lethargy, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.  The vet will treat with steroids, fluids and maybe antibiotics.

Some fun facts about the amazing adder.  They are a protected species.  They can live up to fifteen years.  They can live at the highest elevation for any snake, 8,500 feet.  They are the only snakes found within the Arctic Circle.

A couple of student nurses carried one to our local vets once thinking it was someone’s escaped exotic snake.  Vet chocked on chortles when she told them what it really was and they ran out of the room!

So rest assured the threat is minimal, but forewarned is forearmed. 

What do you get if you cross a magic trick with a snake?  An Addercadabra! 


Ruth x

 p.s. Don't forget to order your Bedtime biscuits and random rewards treats!

Bedtime biscuits and random rewards treats from Cairn Terrier Collectibles