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Spring Poisons – Adders

March 1, 2021

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Pets can get themselves into mischief sometimes and the risks to them can be different depending on the time of year. 

With Spring in the air and #poisonpreventionawarenessmonth upon us, we wanted to share with you some information about the hazards that can cause your pet anything from an irritation to an emergency.

We don’t have much exotic wildlife in the UK but there is one critter that can cause your pet some trouble.  The Adder is the only native venomous snake in the UK.  Adder’s begin to emerge from hibernation during the months of March and April as the temperature begins to warm.  Adder’s are not by nature an aggressive snake but they will bite if provoked or feel threatened.  Rapid swelling around the bite area, with pain, lethargy and collapse of your pet are some of the symptoms of an Adder’s bite.  Owner’s should seek veterinary help if a pet gets bitten.

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Adders are a protected species so attempting to catch the snake or cause it harm is not advised.


Hot cross buns are rife at this time of year. They taste great and us humans love them but they contain raisins or sultanas and ingestion of even a small quantity of this dried fruit can cause severe kidney failure.

Plant Life

Pets like to spend time in the garden. Owners should be aware of lawn feeds, weed and moss killers or fertilisers which can cause your pet to experience gastrointestinal upset in most cases.  Certain pest control products can also be toxic to your pet and products that contain a high level of iron can cause iron poisoning which can result in shock and liver failure.

There are also some plants which present a risk to our pets.  Mushrooms and toadstools are in abundance during wet and mild weather.  There are many species that can be difficult to identify which can cause gastrointestinal signs.  However, there are some that can cause kidney and liver failure so it is advised that veterinary attention is sought.

Photo by Adrian Infernus on Unsplash

Pets have a habit of chewing on things they shouldn’t and this is the case in the garden.  Spring plants, such as snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and tulips can cause gastrointestinal upset with some pets needing treatment to control vomiting and to replace lost fluids.

Download our Spring Hazards leaflet to refer to when needed and if you are concerned that your pet has ingested something they shouldn’t and want advice, contact the Animal Poison Line.

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