A Yorkshire terrier has been left forced to have a leg amputated after being bitten by a venomous snake on a walk.
The 8-year-old dog was bitten by an adder snake in the Scottish countryside while on a walk with owner Lucy Gordon and two other dogs.
Although the bite initially went unrecognized, after Junior showed no reaction, he is “now a member of three-legged club” and became the smallest amputee the vet has ever worked on.
Junior was bitten by the venomous native snake on Saturday while walking along the River Tummel but only began to show signs the next day when Gordon noticed a small cut on his paw.
“I bathed it with salted water, treated it with an antiseptic cream and put on a little sock. I thought he had stood on something sharp,” she told the BBC. “The next morning when I went to repeat this bathing process I found the leg was really swollen. I shaved the fur on his leg and found blistering. That was when I discovered the large puncture wound.”
After being taken to a local vet, Junior was referred to the Edinburgh Veterinary School where he was administered an anti-venom—something available only at specialist medical centers.
Junior was closely watched by vets and it was decided that he needed to have his leg removed. “They had to remove more of the leg than we expected but he would have been unbalanced otherwise,” explained Gordon on her GoFundMe page.
The 8-year-old canine was still in a critical condition after the operation and on a feeding tube and glucose drip in order to recover, confirmed owner Gordon in an update online. “The vet said he had a comfortable evening but they are still concerned about him, as he hasn’t eaten for days,” she wrote.
Now, Junior is back at home and managing to eat small amounts but also “managing to get around on three legs no bother.”
“We can see a dramatic improvement in him since being back in his own environment, long may it continue,” wrote Gordon online.
The adder snake is the only native snake to Scotland and its venom is relatively harmless to humans. Despite being Scotland’s only venomous reptile, “most attacks happen when they are trodden on or picked up,” according to the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Gordon, like many other local dog owners, was reportedly unaware of the presence of the snake on her regular route and is now warning others about the dangers.
“I want to take this opportunity to make fellow dog owners aware of the danger of Adders and grass snakes to their pets,” she wrote.
“Junior showed no indication that he had been bitten—if you suspect this has happened to your pet then timing is everything. There is an anti-venom, but there’s such a short time frame for vets to be able to administer the drug.”
Newsweek has contacted Lucy Gordon for comment.