Springer spaniel's genitals swell to 'size of grapefruit' after adder bite

Billy the British springer spaniel, whose genitals swelled to the "size of a grapefruit" after he was bitten by an adder.

Billy the British springer spaniel, whose genitals swelled to the "size of a grapefruit" after he was bitten by an adder. - Credit: Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic

A springer spaniel has spent weeks in and out of the vets after it was bitten by an adder in the garden — causing his genitals to swell to "the size of a grapefruit". 

Lauren Prior was cooking dinner at her home in Gosfield, near Halstead, when she noticed her British springer spaniel Billy lying on the floor after running around outside.

"He was struggling to breathe and he was shaking, he looked like he was having an epileptic fit," said Miss Prior, who has a family of three dogs which she says are "her world". 

Lauren Prior, from Gosfield, took Billy straight to the vets after noticing him struggling to breathe.

Lauren Prior, from Gosfield, took Billy straight to the vets after noticing him struggling to breathe. - Credit: Lauren Prior

She rushed Billy, who had only just turned two, to the emergency vets in Witham where they initially thought he had been stung and prescribed him with antihistamines.

*WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES*


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They returned home but the following morning Miss Prior took Billy to Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic in Halstead, after realising something was still not right.

"As soon as they looked at him they said he has been bitten by a snake on his genitals," explained Miss Prior. 

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"It had swollen to the size of a grapefruit, if not bigger."

Billy, the British springer spaniel, enjoying playing at his home in Gosfield.

Billy, the British springer spaniel, enjoying playing at his home in Gosfield. - Credit: Lauren Prior

Billy stayed at the vets, where he ended up needing surgery to get rid of the dead tissue which had been caused by the venom. 

"They told me the adder bite was toxic and could kill him by causing organ failure," said Miss Prior.

"So I was really worried and feared he might be put down."

Billy the British springer spaniel was bitten by an adder at his home in Gosfield, near Halstead.

Billy the British springer spaniel was bitten by an adder at his home in Gosfield, near Halstead. - Credit: Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic

Billy was taken back and forth between the two vets and his home, having to be monitored overnight, but is expected to make a full recovery. 

Miss Prior said the team at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic were "amazing" and praised them for saving Billy's life.

The team at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic scraped the dead tissue away from Billy's genitalia

The team at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic scraped the dead tissue away from Billy's genitalia, which Miss Prior said had swollen to the "size of a grapefruit, if not bigger". - Credit: Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic

"Billy means the world to me and I was so worried," said Miss Prior. 

"I've only ever seen grass snakes in the garden, not adders. 

The team at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic scraped the dead tissue away from Billy's genitalia

The team at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic scraped the dead tissue away from Billy's genitalia, which Miss Prior said had swollen to the "size of a grapefruit, if not bigger". - Credit: Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic

"I really can't thank Catley Cross enough for everything they did."

Although Billy is now very wary of being in the garden, he is finally back home and is recovering well. 

Billy the British springer spaniel had to have surgery following the adder bite.

Billy the British springer spaniel had to have surgery following the adder bite. - Credit: Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic

According to Vets4Pets adder bites are fairly rare and seem to occur between April and July, most commonly in the afternoon when they are most active.

Even though signs can be severe, 96-97% of cases survive with the appropriate treatment. 

Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic

Billy had surgery on his genitalia at Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic. - Credit: Catley Cross Veterinary Clinic


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