So, the rover has been bitten twice and I wonder if it is now "vaccinated" and if future hypothetical snake bites will be less severe? It is a large Golden Retriever and it was bitten by a common adder (Vipera berus), here in Sweden. That snake is the only venomous snake here in Scandinavia.

And, yes we took it to the vet. both times!

  • related pets.stackexchange.com/questions/17283/… you can find lots of information about vipera berus in the answers,it does not answer your question but it has a lot of information. Dec 5, 2022 at 6:25
  • 2
    Was there some analysis / test done regarding the amount of venom injected in his body? It is known that vipers can bite without actually injecting venom.
    – virolino
    Dec 5, 2022 at 6:26

2 Answers 2


Short answer: no, your dog is not "vaccinated".

I couldn't find any specific numbers about how many doses of adder venom are required to build up a tolerance, but from all I could find it takes a lot more than just 2 doses.

In the production of antitoxins the animals (usually horses) get administered small amounts of venom in increasing dosages. Just 2 injections are usually not enough to get the body to produce enough antigens or enzymes to consider the animal "immune" to a full dosage of venom.

However, adder bites seem to be not very lethal, unless you (or your dog) are allergic to the venom and get an anaphylactic shock. This allergic reaction can set in from 5 minutes up to several hours after the bite and must be treated immediately. You can read more about adder venom and its effect of humans, cats and dogs in this answer.

The study Persistent hypercoagulability in dogs envenomated by the European adder (Vipera berus berus) reads:

Envenomation by the European adder, Vipera berus berus (Vbb), is a medical emergency.
Hypercoagulability was measured in dogs up to 15 days after Vbb [Vipera berus berus] envenomation. Dogs treated with antivenom may be less hypercoagulable than their non-antivenom treated counterparts. Thrombin generation is a promising diagnostic and monitoring tool for Vbb envenomation.

That means even if your dog doesn't show any symptoms of a snake bite, there's still an increased risk of it developing life-threatening thromboses for more than 2 weeks after the bite.


Ummmm... no. I'd say no.

You see, venom isn't like virus, you (or in this case, your dog) don't just get it once or twice and are now immune. While your dog's immune system will now recognize what exactly it's fighting from here on out and might be a teeny-weeny little bit better at fighting it, I wouldn't say your dog is really "vaccinated". The idea of vaccination is to get the immune system not only to recognize the threat, but to also learn to fight it and keep it at bay. according to Pets.webmd, there is a vaccine for snake bite, " Vaccine — some veterinarian clinics carry a snake bite vaccine for dogs to help protect your dog from future snake bites." so if you want the full protection, I would look into that if I were you. https://pets.webmd.com/snake-bite-on-a-dog

oh yes, and good job on taking that dog to the vet! Smart decision.

  • Welcome to pets.SE! Because we care for living beings here, there is a need for sources in each answer! Please add some, minimum to let the asking person have a point for further research. Experience is also a kind of source. Dec 9, 2022 at 5:56

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