Protecting Your Dog From Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are most active in warmer seasons from spring to autumn. Spring is upon us so you will want to keep your canine friend away from these venomous reptiles as bites can lead to serious injury and even death.

Is a rattlesnake bite a veterinary emergency?

A rattlesnake bite is ALWAYS considered a veterinary emergency!  Rattlesnake venom contains a mixture of toxins that, when injected into an unprotected dog’s body, can cause serious symptoms and severe pain. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a bite, the venom can cause permanent damage. 

Which precautions should I take to keep my dog away from rattlesnakes?

Whenever your dog treads into rattlesnake habitat, he or she is at risk of being bitten, particularly because dogs often follow protective instinct or become curious. Keeping your dog on a leash is preferrable, but for those dogs that prefer to run free with the wind in their fur, a rattlesnake vaccination for your dog is recommended.  While the Rattlesnake vaccine does not offer immunity from the effects of the bite, it can help decrease the severity of the effects and, importantly, maybe buy you a little more time to seek veterinary attention.

My dog has been bitten, what should I do next?

Even if your dog has been vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, you should seek immediate veterinarian assistance for assessment and care. Your veterinarian can determine whether your dog will need additional treatment. Even bites from non-venomous snakes may lead to serious infections and your dog may require antibiotic treatment.

Cost of Not Protecting Your Dog

Treatment may require antivenom injections, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. These injections are also associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions that can cause complications during recovery. Other costs of treatment for rattlesnake bites may include intravenous fluids, medicines, surgery and/or hospitalization. A veterinarian is the best person to consult when making medical decisions for your dog.


Note: The advice provided in this article is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.

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