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Neurological deficits after confirmed adder bite in a cat
  1. Rebecca Robinson1,
  2. Nicola Bates2,
  3. Fiona Bolton3,4 and
  4. Nicola Robinson5
  1. 1Vets4Pets York, York, UK
  2. 2Veterinary Poisons Information Service, Medical Toxicology and Information Services, London, UK
  3. 3R&D Unit, MicroPharm, Newcastle Emlyn, UK
  4. 4Alistair Reid Venom Research Unit, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK
  5. 5Veterinary Poisons Information Service, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Rebecca Robinson; becky.candler{at}


A domestic shorthair cat presenting with pyrexia and tachycardia was given an antibiotic for suspected infection but returned 48 hours later with inability to defecate or urinate and with tail paralysis. There was swelling and bruising at the tail base but no radiographic evidence of a tail pull injury. Laboratory parameters and urinary and faecal cultures were normal. Five days later the owner reported an adder in the garden, and due to no response to supportive care, antivenom was given. Within two hours clinical signs improved, and by 12 hours the tachycardia and pyrexia had resolved. Laboratory analysis confirmed the presence of adder venom in a blood sample. Urination and defecation were normal at five months with regained function in the cranial third of the tail. It is thought clinical signs were due to direct venom-induced necrosis of nerve tissue rather than venom neurotoxins.

  • toxicology
  • diagnostics
  • neurotoxicology
  • cats
  • vipera
  • adder
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  • Contributors Clinical presentation, investigations, treatment - Rebecca Robinson. Investigations and Figure 1 - Fiona Bolton. Background and Discussion - Nicola Bates, Nicola Robinson.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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