Rattlesnake Bite? There's A Vaccine For That


It's that time of year when you want nothing more than to take your dog out on the hiking trail, but there are dangers along the trail for which you and your furry friend need to be prepared. One of those threats is rattlesnakes. No, they're not typically in the front of your mind, but just because you've never come across one of these vipers on your walks doesn't mean you won't. But to be really prepared, you should think about getting the rattlesnake vaccine for your dog along with the usual vaccinations that your veterinarian recommends. 

Be Proactive With the Rattlesnake Vaccine

If you regularly take your dog places where rattlesnakes hang out, talk to your vet about the rattlesnake vaccine. Your dog will need two doses and then a yearly booster to maintain protection. The vaccine works by helping your dog produce antibodies against the venom. It doesn't provide complete immunity, but it can lessen the severity of a rattlesnake bite. You will still need to get your bitten dog to your vet to receive antivenom.

But in addition to being proactive by getting the rattlesnake vaccine, you still need to be wary of rattlesnakes, because both you and your pup are still potential targets and could experience serious bite consequences. Here's some advice about avoiding these snakes and what to do if an encounter with one of them turns into an emergency.

Avoid Snake Habitats

Rattlesnakes are naturally reclusive and prefer to avoid humans when possible. However, because they are cold-blooded, they do like to sun themselves, which means they like clear areas such as roads, trails, and rocky areas. The good thing about that is that you can usually see them and can avoid them. Try to avoid areas with bushes or tall grass where they may be hidden. Dogs are naturally curious, so keep them under control on a 6-foot leash. Also, don't depend on hearing the snake's warning rattle. Most bites occur because you surprise a snake, and the snake has no time to react other than with its fangs.

What to Do if Your Dog Is Bitten

If you see your pup get bitten or see fang marks or a swollen area, usually located on its face or extremities, it's imperative to act quickly. Snakebite can quickly cause circulatory collapse, or in the case of a face bite, can obstruct the airway. Carry your dog, if possible, otherwise walk your dog slowly back to your house or car. You don't want to increase the heart rate because that will speed up the spread of the venom through the body. Don't try to treat the bite in any way. Get your dog to your veterinarian or closest animal hospital immediately, and call them on the way, if possible, to ensure they have antivenom. In addition to administering antivenom, your veterinarian will be able to provide fluids and breathing assistance if necessary.

Contact a local animal hospital to learn more about treating snake bites on your pets.


20 July 2022

Finding Help Early

For years, I wanted to fill my home with happy animals. When I got married, my spouse wanted a pet just as much as I did, and it was great to start looking for pets together. We were able to find a rescue animal who worked well with our budget and our lifestyle, and it was neat to give that sweet animal a home. However, after we brought the pet into our home, we realized that he needed some medical care. We turned to a veterinarian for advice on his medical health, and we worked on getting him completely vaccinated. Check out this blog for more information on finding help early.