A Seaford woman whose pet dog had to be put down after being bitten by an adder is warning other dog-owners to be vigilant when walking their pets near Seaford Head.
Nikki Blight was taking her three dogs, Roxy, Alfie and Tink, out for an evening walk near the Barn car park on Wednesday, May 25. It wasn’t until she returned home she realised something was wrong.
She said, “When I got home, I noticed Alfie was acting weird and wouldn’t drink or eat. I touched his face and it was swollen, so I quickly rushed him to Beechwoods, our local vet. They told us to take him to Coastway Emergency Vets in Brighton for treatment.
“When I got home, I realised Roxy had also been bitten, so we went back to Brighton. She didn’t show any symptoms straight away so we didn’t realise it had bitten her too.
“Unfortunately, due to other complications, we had to put Roxy to sleep as her body couldn’t cope with the venom.”
Roxy, a 13-year-old terrier cross, was a rescue dog from the Kitt Wilson Trust after she had been abandoned with her mother and left tied to a tree. Mrs Blight had her for ten years.
She added, “After an horrendous four days of Alfie receiving treatment, he was allowed home yesterday with a lot of medicines to take.
“We saw him Friday evening and I really didn’t think he was going to make it as the swelling on his face and neck was awful.
“The snake bit him on his cheek and the venom destroyed his skin - he was seeping blood from his face. That’s now stopped but he’s so badly bruised and tender from it.
“The vets were worried he wasn’t eating due to the pain in his mouth and thought the next plan of action was to send him home to see if that would help him. He’s now eating, albeit little bits at a time.”
Mrs Blight got Alfie, a little 13-year-old Cairn terrier cross, from the RSPCA in Patcham nearly ten-and-a-half years ago. He had been found wandering around the streets in Ireland.
The vet bill to keep Alfie alive currently stands at £1,500 with more treatment to come. While Mrs Blight hopes to raise awareness of the dangers adders can pose, she also hopes to raise some money so she can continue to get Alfie the care he needs.
Mrs Blight, who also owns pups Max and Buddy, said, “Roxy and Alfie were a little couple within the group of our dogs, always played ball together, slept together, a little Mr and Mrs. Unfortunately, poor Roxy is no longer with us and we’re running out of money - we need support to help keep Alfie alive.
“I’ve been walking my dogs there for over 18 years and I never had problems before. I was walking along the path where there’s a strip of grass running through it and that’s where the adder was, it wasn’t in bushes or long grass.
“I think the dogs run for the ball and it landed near to it, and that’s when they saw it and unfortunately decided to see what it was. Neither dog yelped or barked and we continued with our walk.
“I think it’s important for everyone to be aware of, for other dog-owners and people with young children who walk along there - the children often scoot or ride bikes along the path. It would be awful if they fell over and got bitten.
“I want to stress how fantastic all of the staff have been at Coastway vets in Brighton. If it wasn’t for their amazing care we wouldn’t have Alfie with us, I’ve never come across vets so dedicated to helping animals. I was calling them really late at night for updates and never once did I feel I was a nuisance to them. We’re going back tomorrow to see the vets for a check up.”
To make a donation towards Alfie’s vet bills, visit https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/nikki-blight.
For information on what to do if you think your dog has been bitten by a snake, visit http://www.vets-now.com/pet-owners/dog-care-advice/adder-bites-dogs/.