rattlesnake vaccine

kokosnood(z9 CA)August 26, 2005

has anyone heard about the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs? is it worth it? some vets around here do it, but one told me he won't do it until it is verified to work.

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It does not work. No real such thing.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 12:58PM
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Rattlesnake vaccine is very new and developed by a company that hasn't developed any other vaccine products. They say it might help if dog is bitten, but would still need immediate veterinary care. Just like most vaccines, there's also a danger of a bad reaction, so you have to weigh the chances of getting bit with the chance of a bad reaction to the vaccine itself. Here's a link to an article that sums it up well:


Sounds like one good reason to use it would be if (1) your dog had already been treated for snakebite, because a second treatment with antivenin could be dangerous, and (2) your dog is frequently exposed to poisonous snakes and in danger of getting bit.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 1:52PM
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I don't think I would use a vaccine that is new, and not tested. My dogs were being vaccinated for Heartworm, and my vet suddenly stopped using it. She said too many side effects, including death of the dog. I was glad for her honesty, and quick reaction. In Arizona there are training classes in snake aversion for dogs. They say it works very well. You might check in your area for this training.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 7:39PM
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I complete agree with "jimdaz!" My post sounded as if I might be recommending the vaccine, when what I meant was that from reading up on it, I could only find two reasons to even CONSIDER using it (extraordinary circumstances.) My vets and I avoid any vaccines that have not been thoroughly time and numbers tested, and in general avoid all but the necessary "core" vaccines for any of my animals. The snakeproofing is a great idea to check out!

And even in those extraordinary circumstances, I think I'd try snakeproofing and carrying a "snakebite kit" for the dogs before I'd use a new vaccine until it had passed the time and numbers test. (I can't remember the name of the drug at the moment, but there is an injectable you can keep handy for your dogs in case they are bitten and you're not close to emergency care.)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 11:50AM
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kokosnood(z9 CA)

I've seen some big rattlers on my land, and my dog pounced on one. Luckily it rattled and she jumped back. I called her away, but a few minutes later she started drifting back towards the area where it was. I didn't have anything to kill it with, so I just hiked back to the house.

I am seriously concerned she is going to be bitten. It may even happen when I am not with her. She is 8 years old, and has spent most of her life in the city. Any suggestions? I haven't seen any of those training classes in my area where they shock the dog when it gets close to a rattler.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 1:20PM
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lyonsy(10 CA)

My friends dog got bitten by a huge rattler (the vet measured the bite) on the face last month. She is a mixed variety cattle dog and a terrific guard dog. She was given the vaccine and has survived. The vet said that a smaller dog would never have survived that bite vaccine or not.

John CA

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 7:08PM
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kokosnood(z9 CA)


so the vaccine helped save the dog?

I think I may go ahead and do it.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 3:13PM
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Kristy_SC(coastal SC)

Umm,if it was given after the bite, that would not be a vaccine. I'm thinking it was antivenin given. Also the vaccine takes two shots about 1 month apart. The vet may have recomended the vaccine since a second treatment with antivenin is not a good idea for this dog in the future. This may be a good idea for dogs in a high risk group, but note the makers of the vaccine say to still take your animal in for treatment if they are struck.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 4:37PM
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Given afterwards, it was probably antivenin that your friend's dog had. The vaccine makers say it HELPS protect against bad effects from a snakebite, but the dog still will need emergency treatment.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 8:10AM
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kokosnood(z9 CA)

just fyi: I went ahead and got the shot for the dog. I figure if it does nothing, I am out a few bucks. Hopefully it won't hurt her (she seems fine.) And if it helps to save her life then it was a very good investment. I will get the booster shot in a month.

The next day she encountered another rattler, but luckily she jumped back when it rattled and I called her away. She shows fear of them, but I'd like to get that class that teaches them to be very scared of rattlers--the one where they shock the dog when she gets near the snake.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2005 at 1:52AM
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This topic seriously needs updating. If I can post, I will try to bring things up to date based on considerable experience with both the vaccine and Western Diamondback bites.

We live on and operate a 69-acre commercial goat ranch and calf growout facility in Southeastern Texas. In addition to house dogs, we also have livestock guard dogs. Two years ago we lost two of the LGD's to rattlers. This is a horrible way for a dog to die. At that time the vaccine was much newer than it is today and we were skeptical as to its efficacy.

Our good old country vet convinced us that it was worth trying in his opinion. We then vaccinated the house dogs. The two remaining LGD's had both survived several bites between them -- recovering fully in a few days -- so we elected not to give them the vaccine.

Bottom line? We had two house dogs bitten and both recovered from relatively minor symptoms within two days with no discernible after effects. So based on that personal experience, I believe the vaccine is worth the $15 per shot our vet charges.

We gave all bitten dogs a cc of dexamethsone and 2 cc's of penicillin as all the additional treatment necessary.

Bunny huggers take note: We also kill EVERY rattlesnake we encounter but vigorously protect all other snakes on the property -- including the gopher snakes that live in the building where our home, shop, and gun store is located.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 10:24PM
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My 6.6lb Chi-MiniPin recently had the rattlesnake vaccine. Within 36 hours she threw up stomach fluid with a significant amount of blood in it. Xrays showed intestines that were somewhat impacted. She had an enema, but wouldn't eat for three days and was very lethargic. Finally gave her stewed chicken and pumpkin and she ate that. The next day she had loose stools with drops of blood around them, and she threw up again, but no blood this time. Since she's never had any trouble of this kind, I'm very wary that the vaccine is the culprit and will be reluctant to give it again. Better to do avoidance training!? (I read about another dog that took $4500 and several months to recover from a rattlesnake vaccine.)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 7:12PM
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