A VETS has issued a warning to dog owners after seeing the first cases of adder bites.

Orchard House Vets at Hexham issued the warning to dog owners after they treated this year' first two snakebite cases in the same weekend.

Snake bites are an emergency and the vets say if your dog has been bitten the most important thing is to get them to a vet as soon as possible. With treatment, most dogs make a full recovery.

A spokesperson of Orchard House Vets said: "As far as we are aware, we are the only anti-venom stockist, and our Bellingham surgery has good supplies given its proximity to Kielder."

There are three types of snakes found in the UK but only adders are venomous. Adder bites tend to happen from February to October when they are active but are especially common from June to August. Adders hibernate in winter months.

Adders do not usually bite unless they are scared but dogs tend to approach them without fear, startling them, and get bitten.

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If your dog is bitten, symptoms vary on where the bite is and where the venom spreads to.

If the venom stays in the tissue surrounding the bite, it will cause pain and swelling, but if it spreads further into the bloodstream, it can cause severe problems including liver and heart damage.

If venom is injected straight into the bloodstream, it can cause sudden death.

Serious symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, pale gums, panting and drooling.

Severe and life threatening symptoms include weakness, wobbling, severe bruising and abnormal bleeding, difficulty breathing, seizures and collapse.

It's important to stay calm. Take a photo of the snake if you can see it without getting close, but do not try to find it, get close to it, or harm it. Keep your dog as still as possible to prevent the venom spreading, and leave the bite alone. Call your vet in advance to notify them of the bite.  

To avoid adder bites, it is recommended to stay away from areas well known for adders in summer months, or when in those areas, keep dogs on the path and on a lead.

If you are on holiday somewhere unfamiliar, research the area to find out if there is any adder hotspots before walking your dog.

Adders are most commonly found in long grass, woodland, moorland, and along the coast in sand dunes and coastal paths.