The temperature is rising and summer is close, which also means that the vipers have come out of their winter lair - it all sounds exciting and you almost want to go out and find a cute little viper, since the viper is an exciting animal, but as with all snakes, they are not so exciting if they sink their venomous teeth into yourself, or worse, your dogs or cats.
But as a starting point, you shouldn't be afraid, should it happen. It is always important to keep calm, both for yourself, but mostly for your dog or cat, so that it does not become more frightened by what has just happened.
We have put together some good advice to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible:
Good advice for the walking tour:
- Don't forget to list, but make a little noise when you go for a walk - this will often make the viper look away, because it would prefer to avoid being run over ;-)
- Should it happen that your dog is bitten, it is important that you do not let it run home, so if possible, carry it or call someone who can pick you up.
- Before you go home, sit down and have some peace and quiet for 5-10 minutes, this also gives your dog the opportunity to relax before you go on.
- Now you have to call your local vet, or animal hospital, so that the dog can quickly get the treatment it requires, they will usually also be able to give you some guidance over the phone.
- As with so many things, not everything you hear fits and therefore you must under no circumstances try to suck out the poison, this increases the risk of infection and carries the poison over to you and can easily be absorbed in the mouth. We don't want that.
It is possible to give your dog antihistamine tablets, but we do not recommend that you treat your dog with antihistamine tablets yourself. We ALWAYS recommend that you seek help from the vet or that you call the Animal Protection call center on 1812 (link). They will be able to explain to you what you can give and how, plus they will be able to help you find the nearest vet, which is always the best choice to contact.
How dangerous is a bite from a viper for your dog or cat?
Most often, not much happens if the dog is simply treated. The swelling on the dog's or cat's nose/paw will most often occur, and the discomfort it has will disappear within a day.
If your dog is in a vulnerable group such as underweight, old, puppy or kitten or has other problems such as kidney, liver or heart problems, they may be more at risk.
At approx. 50% of dogs and cats exposed to a viper bite have their organs affected. It is most often the case that it is their liver that is most affected and that is why it is a good idea to hold back on exercise for the next 8 - 14 days after the episode.
In bad cases, complications such as organ damage, heart problems or severe infection can occur - these are often temporary. You can also experience tissue death, e.g. on the leg that has been bitten. As this can lead to the dog or cat not surviving, we always recommend that you contact your vet as soon as possible.