Neurological deficits after confirmed adder bite in a cat

11 Apr 2019

Robinson, R., Bates, N., Bolton, F., Robinson, N.

Vet Record Case Reports Image

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.