Snake bite link to death of dog

A NEW HAW family is mourning the loss of their beloved pet dog, which had to be put to sleep after suffering from what a vet believes to have been a snake bite while in kennels when they were away on holiday.

Adrian Hendy collected Ralph the red setter after returning from a nine day stay in Egypt.

The nine-year-old dog had been looked after by Wey Farm Kennels in Guildford Road, Ottershaw.

p5-ralph-the-irish-setterAdrian, 46, told the News & Mail: “When I picked him up he wasn’t his normal self and didn’t look too well. I spoke to the lady proprietor at the kennels, who thought that Ralph had been stung by a bee the previous Thursday evening.

“She had said that he had been off his food a bit and that was all.”

The dog was collected on Saturday 1 October. By the evening, his condition had worsened and Adrian took him to Vets4Pets in Woking.

“There was a wound on one of his legs which had been overlooked at the kennels and it was becoming much larger, almost like a tennis ball,” Adrian explained.

“When I called to check on his welfare, the vet told me that he had probably been bitten by a European Viper, almost certainly an adder.”

Ralph was given an antidote to combat the snake venom, but had to be put down the following Tuesday following complications in his condition.

Adrian said: “The kennel kindly paid the vet bills, which added up to £2,400, but they seemed to refuse to believe that an adder was ultimately responsible for the loss of our dog.”

Adders, Britain’s only poisonous snake, are relatively common in areas of rough, open countryside and heathland and are often seen on the edge of woodland. They would normally be hibernating at this time of year and would strike out and bite if trodden on.

Noah Lemare, whose family has owned the kennels since 1975, confirmed that he had agreed to pay the vet’s fees after being made aware of the incident. However, he believes Ralph may have died because he was not treated soon enough for whatever illness he was suffering.

He told the News & Mail: “If we had noticed the wound to his leg sooner we would have called a vet in ourselves. It wasn’t spotted because of the dog’s long fur. I believe that Ralph may have died from a condition called torsion, a twisting of the stomach brought on by the original infection.

“It is very regrettable but we have done all we can to assist Mr Hendy during what is obviously a difficult time for him. I have been here for more than 40 years and I have never seen or heard of an adder inside any of our dog runs or pens.”

Adrian said he reported the incident to Runnymede Borough Council and was told an environmental officer would be making checks at the kennels.

“Ralph was doted on by my 18-year-old daughter Pippa,” he added. “Coming back to this after a beautiful family holiday away in Egypt now makes it feel as if we’ve had no holiday at all.

“I just want to warn other dog owners about what has happened. There is nothing worse than losing a family pet.”

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