Protect Your Dog from Rattlesnake Bites - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Protect Your Dog from Rattlesnake Bites

Rattlesnake bite is a veterinary emergency

It results in serious injury or even death to thousands of dogs each year.  Rattlesnake venom is a complex mixture of toxins that spreads through a dog's body following the bite.  Red Rock Rattlesnake Vaccines defend your dog by creating an immunity that works right away to help neutralize the toxins.  That's rattlesnake protection that will put you and your dog at ease.

Rattlesnakes live in a variety of habitats

They are found in wetlands, deserts and forests, from sea level to mountain elevations.  Rattlesnakes are most active in warmer seasons, from spring to autumn.  In southern latitudes they are occasionally found year-round.

Dogs are at risk for rattlesnake bite

Dogs can encounter a rattlesnake anytime they are in rattlesnake habitat.  You and your dog may live in rattlesnake habitat.  Perhaps you travel through or frequently visit places where rattlesnakes are found.  Maybe rattlesnakes are around when you take your dog hiking, camping or hunting.  Like people, dogs may stumble over the location of a snake by accident.  Curiosity or a protective instinct can place your dog at risk.  In each case, vaccination helps to protect her.

Damage caused by rattlesnake bite can be serious

When injected into an unprotected dog, the toxic components of snake venom are very painful and can have serious consequences.  Even if your dog survives the immediate effect of a rattlesnake bite, she can be permanently injured.

Treatment of rattlesnake bite is expensive

Treatment of snakebite may include anti venom injections which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.  Use of anti venom is associated with an increased risk of adverse effects which can complicate a dog's recovery.  Other costs of snakebite treatment may include hospitalization, intravenous fluids or other medicines.  Vaccination is safer than anti venom treatment.  Vaccination can reduce the overall effects of snakebite, reduce or eliminate the need for anti venom, and decrease other treatment costs as well.

Protocol for Prevention

The first year your dog is vaccinated, she should receive two doses of vaccine spaced one month apart.  Dogs weighing over 100 pounds will benefit from a third dose in this initial sequence.

Because the best protection from the vaccine is within the first six months following vaccination, the schedule for booster doses depends upon the length of the rattlesnake season in your area.  Typically, if your dog lives in the northern half of the United States we recommend one booster dose each year in the spring, or about a month before you take your dog into rattlesnake habitat.  Dogs in the southern half of the United States should receive booster doses of vaccine twice each year - usually at four to six month intervals.

The vaccine stimulates your dog's own immunity

This process makes vaccination safer, and the resulting immunity faster acting, than anti venom treatment.  Protective antibodies made by your dog in response to the vaccine start neutralizing venom immediately.  This means that vaccinated dogs experience less pain, recover faster and have a reduced risk of permanent injury from rattlesnake bite.

Snakebite is always an emergency

Even after your dog is vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, she should be taken to a veterinarian for evaluation and care as soon as possible following snakebite.  Veterinarians can determine if your dog's immunity at the time of the bite is sufficient for the venom dose received or if additional treatment is required.  Even bites by non-venomous snakes can lead to serious infections and antibiotic treatment may be needed.  A veterinarian is the best person to consult regarding medical decisions for your dog.

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