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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. The toxic components of snake venom are very painful and can have serious consequences. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a rattlesnake bite, she can be permanently injured.
A Rattlesnake Vaccination is safer than antivenom treatment. The Vaccination can reduce the overall effects of the snakebite, reduce or eliminate the need for antivenom, and decrease other treatment costs as well. The first year your dog is vaccinated, she should receive two doses of vaccine spaced one month apart.
Protective antibodies made by your dog in response to the vaccine start neutralizing venom immediately. This means vaccinated dogs should experience less pain and a reduced risk of permanent injury from rattlesnake bite.
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. Even bites by non-venomous snakes can lead to serious infections and antibiotic treatment may be needed. A veterinarian can determine if your dog is sufficiently protected for the specific type of snake involved and the amount of venom injected, or whether additional medical treatment would be helpful.