A FAMILY's pet dog died after being bitten on the face by an adder while walking on a Herefordshire common.

Laura Culpin was walking her Welsh sheep dog called Vilberie on Ewyas Harold Common last Monday when she heard a yelp.

The four-year-old dog ran back to her and appeared to have blood on its lip - it then started to tuck itself into a bush and lie down.

She suspected Vilberie had been bitten by an adder and she took the dog straight to the vets.

Laura said: "She was a bit lethargic. She wasn't quite herself and she had got puncture wound marks in her mouth."

The following day she called the vets to see how Vilberie had had been overnight.

She said: "I was expecting to ring on Tuesday to bring her home. But she had really ballooned up. They had been trying all night to source some anti-venom.

"We rang a vets we knew. The nearest we could find was Somerset."

There wasn't any available in Herefordshire. The anti-venom is a licensed product and it has a short shelf life.

On Tuesday they had to get an emergency courier to bring the anti-venom medication from Somerset.

Laura, 37, added: "She looked like a flat fish. Her eyes were pushed right up to the top of her head."

By the Wednesday the swelling had gone down but sadly on Saturday Vilberie was not recovering and had to be put down.

Laura, who had been walking Vilberie with her three month old son called Sebastian and her other dog called Kai, said: "I know adders are up there. We want other people to be vigilant. We have nothing against snakes or the common. It is just one of those really unlucky things."

Vilberie was named after a cider apple variety as Laura owns Ty Gwyn Cider in Pontrilas with her husband Alex.

Matthew Jones from The Laurels Veterinary Group, which has surgeries in Hereford and Ewyas Harold, said: "Generally adder bites are quite rare around here.

"If owners suspect their dog may have been bitten by an adder they should get it examined by a vet immediately.

"The sooner these things are picked up, the better. Most of the time dogs will recover but they can be fatal in a small proportion of dogs."

The adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain but will only use their venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or trodden on.

Adders are relatively common in areas of rough, open countryside and are often associated with woodland edge habitats.