A dog owner has issued a warning to others after his eight-year-old terrier was bitten by a snake on the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path.
Robert Bartlett was walking along the path on Saturday when his rescue dog, named Jipsie, was bitten by an adder.
Mr Bartlett had to rush the dog to the vets following the encounter and although their condition has improved, the terrier must now take three kinds of medication for the next 15 days.
The owner said he often sees adders on the path but has never spotted one this early into the year. He is now urging others to keep their eyes open for snakes.
Mr Bartlett, 76, had been on the coastal path with his dog between Swanlake beach and Manorbier when the snake emerged from the side of the popular walking route.
However it was not until the Patterdale terrier's leg began to swell that Mr Bartlett realised she had been bitten.
He said: "I don't let Jipsie off the lead on the path, I had her on a fairly short lead, but she will dive into the side of the footpath. She dived in and out came this snake which was an adder."I do see adders quite a bit on the footpath but never this early in the year - they don't like the cold."We only went about 10 yards and she started limping. I looked at her foot thinking 'has she put her paw on a thorn?' but I couldn't see anything. Her paw started swelling and her leg started swelling so I had to pick her up."
Fortunately, the dog owner, who is from near Pontypridd, was offered help by a friend living nearby. They drove the pair to Mr Bartlett's car. From there the retired construction industry worker rushed to Tenby to meet the vet.
He said: "As luck had it the vet is South African and he's quite used to dogs bitten by snakes so straight away he prepared her other leg and got her on a drip."She got bitten at 3:15pm and she was on a drip by 4:15pm. He said the poison can affect the kidneys and that could finish her off so he put her on the drip with medication in."Initially the vets thought Jipsie would have to stay overnight but Mr Bartlett was called back in later that evening to collect his dog after her condition improved.
The terrier must now be given three kinds of medication, including steroids and antiseptic medication, for the next 15 days.
Jipsie did suffer a slight set-back in her ability to walk but she is expected to make a full recovery.
Mr Bartlett, who walks around 80 miles per week around the coastal path, now wants to warn others to keep their eyes open for adders.He said: "Some people don't know about the snakes when they come down on holiday, it's something they don't think about. I know how many people walk their dogs along the path. I see holiday makers with flip flops, it's unbelievable."I can honestly say I have never seen a snake in April before. I've seen quite a few in July, August, and I'm very aware of them. If I'd been aware of it now I wouldn't have let her dive into the little nooks and crannies because I know the possibilities."As soon as she was bitten I realised she needed to go to the vet as soon as possible as the quicker you get there the more chance you have."According to veterinary chain Vets4Pets adder bites among dogs is "fairly rare" and normally occurs if the snake is stepped on or disturbed.Bites can result in swelling around the wound, usually within two hours, and it may be possible to see the two puncture wounds in the centre of the swelling.Other than swelling your dog may show signs of pain, bleeding, bruising, lameness and may appear nervous.Advice for owners if they suspect their dog has been bitten by a snake:
Seek veterinary attention - it is a good idea to ring in advance to let them know what has happened and when you plan to arrive.
Do not panic - your dog is highly likely to fully recover if treatment is given promptly.
Carry your dog, rather than allow them to walk, to try and reduce the spread of venom around the body.
Bathe the wound in cold water to help control the swelling.
Try to keep your dog quiet and warm as you travel to your nearest vet practice.