Dog walker left unable to walk is ‘lucky to be alive’ after being bitten by a poisonous snake in the UK

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A dog walker from Essex is ‘lucky to be alive’ after being bitten by a snake while she took her pooch out for a stroll.

An Essex dog walker is ‘lucky to be alive’ after she was bitten by Britain’s only native venomous snake. Beau Avis, 26, was walking her cockapoo Bonnie in Upminster, Essex with her dad Kevin Avis, 59, when she accidently trod on an adder.

The snake then bit her ankle, causing her leg to rapidly swell and turn yellow. She also suffered a life-threatening anaphylactic shock.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 26-year-old was rushed to hospital where doctors had an anti-venom shot to hand. She was kept in for two nights before being discharged in a wheelchair, and the incident has left her unable to walk.

Now Beau is on the mend, but she wants to warn others about the dangers of poisonous snakes in the UK and how to react if you’re bitten by one.

Beau, from Brentwood, Essex, said: "The bite felt like someone had poured acid into my left leg.

"I panicked as I’ve been scared of snakes my whole life - but I found out later panicking makes the venom spread faster. In that scenario you are supposed to stay calm - something I didn’t do!"

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Beau Avis was walker her dog Bonnie when she was bitten by a poisonous snakeBeau Avis was walker her dog Bonnie when she was bitten by a poisonous snake
Beau Avis was walker her dog Bonnie when she was bitten by a poisonous snake | Courtesy Beau Avis / SWNS

Beau was working from home on May 31 when she headed out on her lunch break with her dad to walk her dog Bonnie at around 2pm. They drove to a nearby woodland area, and were walking down a country path when Beau suddenly let out a scream.

The PR executive, who was wearing sandals at the time, immediately put her hand on her left ankle to find she’d been bitten. The bite left three teeth marks, and Beau says when she looked down, she saw the back end of a 50cm brownish, zig zagged snake slither off into the long grass.

She explained: "Me and Dad were engrossed in conversation, walking the dog like we often do. Then I felt this sharp bite on the inside of my left ankle. Almost immediately the skin under the bite started to swell and I looked frantically for the cause.

"That’s when I saw the back end of a brownish, zig zagged creature slither into the long grass.It suddenly hit me that I’d trodden on an adder snake - and I started to panic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I was freaking out and dad was desperately trying to calm me down - but the fear had already gripped a hold of me.We rushed back to the car and the pain and swelling was getting worse every second that went by - it was horrific."

The 26-year-old called her mum who rang an ambulance while they were in the car on the way home. Paramedics were at her parent’s house within 25 minutes, in which time Beau had gone into anaphylactic shock as a result of the bite.

She was drifting in and out of consciousness, vomiting and battling intense stomach pain which would frequently come and go. After arriving at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, Beau was fast tracked to the Resuscitation Department and administered with an anti venom adrenaline shot.

At first, doctors were unsure whether they had the right concoction of medicine on site - but thankfully they were able to form the right antidote. She was given the shot at 4pm, two hours after the incident and kept in hospital overnight.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
The snake left three teeth marksThe snake left three teeth marks
The snake left three teeth marks | Courtesy Beau Avis / SWNS

However, the swelling had travelled so far up her left leg and knee cap that she required a second shot at 6am the next morning. It was only after another full day and night on an intravenous drip that she was allowed to continue her recovery at home.

Beau said: "Doctors called the The National Poisons Information Services who told them the shot they required to repel the adder venom.

"Thankfully they had the drugs they needed in the hospital and they blended a concentrate into an intravenous drip which fed into a bag. Anti venom is most effective within four hours so it was vital they acted quickly.

"By the evening, my whole limb was bright red and had doubled in size - and I was being treated for cellulitis.The swelling travelled above my knee meaning I needed another shot at 6am the next morning to make sure all the venom had been flushed out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"An ultrasound revealed three days later that I hadn’t suffered any blood clotting in the leg, and it was only then they were comfortable with me going home.

Following the incident, Beau is relearning how to walk and is only just getting movement in her leg back. Now, she wants to raise awareness about the real danger of poisonous snakes in the UK, and spread information on how to treat bite symptoms.

She added: "My consultant called this morning to check in and ask to use me as a case study so other hospitals know what to do in similar situations.

"An adder bite hasn’t killed anyone in ages, but they were really concerned in the first 12 hours because of my low blood pressure.If I’d have known panicking spreads the venom, I would have done more to stay calm.

"That’s why I want to share my story so others know how to react if they ever get in a similar situation."

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.