Dog walkers are being told to take care after a Southend vet had to deal with four seperate cases involving snake bites.

Three separate incidents had to be dealt with by Medivet on Eastwoodbury Lane in Southend with two cases in Rochford and another case in Two Tree Island near Leigh.

It follows a further adder attack at Gunner Park in Shoebury earlier on Saturday morning.

While the risk of adder bites is low, with 100 cases reported in the UK each year pet owners are being asked to be vigilant while out walking in areas such as long grass, marshland and woodland where adders are likely to habitat.

The adders are dark coloured with a distinct distinct zig-zag pattern down their backs and red eyes. Males tend to be more silvery-grey in colour while females are more light or reddish-brown.

A spokesman for the vets said: “We’ve had our first reported adder bite in Shoebury this weekend.

“Please be aware that although the risk of adder bites is quite low, with only around 100 cases reported in the UK each year, it’s still worth being cautious at this time of year, especially when out walking on marshland, woodland or in long grass.

“Signs of an Adder bite are usually swelling, pain and bleeding at the site of the bite, which can be quite dangerous if the bite is near the face or neck, as this can affect the airways.

They added: “If treatment is not sought promptly this can progress to a range of other issues as the venom attacks the body.”

Meanwhile local councillors told residents to look out for their pets. Jacqui Thornton, who represents the St James' ward at Castle Point Council, was one of those urging caution. 

She said: "Obviously when the sun comes out adders in this part of the country do come out to bask. If they're disturbed you can get a nasty bite. 

"Hospitals do hold the antivenom but don't poke a stick at them. If you leave them alone they will leave you be but be careful with your dog on a lead, they can disturb it inadvertenly."

With the spike in adder bites Medivet gave a five-point plan to resident if their discover their dog has been bitten by a poisonous snake while on a walk:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Try to carry your dog back to the car
  3. Apply a cold compress to the area if your able to
  4. Remove any collars if they’re in the area of the swelling if it is safe to do so
  5. Call your vet immediately