If you are an avid hiker in the area, and have ever come across a rattlesnake on a trail, it can be unnerving. If you prefer to hike with your favorite four-legged furry friend, rattlesnakes can become even more of a concern. Keeping a dog on-trail is hard to do, and most don’t hike with dogs off-leash. If you’re worried about what a potential rattlesnake bite could do to Fido, perhaps it’s time to talk to your local veterinarian in Bend, Oregon.
When it’s recommended
Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic recommends it for hunting dogs, especially those out east of Bend. The vaccine was designed to prevent against the Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes venom, and as most other snakes venom is similar, it may provide additional protection against other snakes.
What it does
The vaccine is designed to create protective antibodies against rattlesnake venom. The antibodies work to neutralize the rattlesnake venom. Most vets report that dogs that experience bites, that have already been vaccinated, experience less pain, less swelling, less tissue damage, and typically recover faster.
There are a lot of other factors that can influence how bad a bite is, like size and age of the dog, and how much venom is injected. Other factors include the location of the bite, and how long it’s been since the dog was vaccinated. Protection typically lasts for 6 months, with maximum protection happening about four to six weeks after the shot is administered. First time vaccines are typically followed up with a booster shot one month later, and then boosters are only required each year following. If your dog is going to be in an area with rattlesnakes for the most part of the year, it may be better to administer two booster shots per year.
If a bite occurs
Whenever a snakebite occurs, it should always be treated as an emergency, even if the dog has been vaccinated. If your dog has received the shot and is bitten, it’s still recommended to bring them in to your vet for an exam and care as soon as possible after the bite.
If your dog has already been bitten and treated for a snake bite, they can still get vaccinated. Most vets recommend to wait at least six weeks, after a snake bite, to administer the shot.
Most side effects are mild and nothing to worry about. Some dogs may experience injection site seromas, or a build-up of fluid, which is a small risk with any injection or vaccination. There is a very low likelihood of immune mediated hemolytic anemia, which is where the body attacks its own red blood cells. Talk to your local veterinarian to see if they recommend this for your dog, and what they advise.