As the weather gets warmer, snakes will become more active, and there’s a good chance you’ll encounter one basking in the sun. Rattlesnakes aren’t confined to rural areas; however—they can be found in cities, suburban parks, and riverside areas.
Rattlesnake venom is extremely dangerous as it causes excessive swelling and death of the tissue surrounding the wound. Luckily, there is a vaccine for rattlesnake venom – and we carry it at Mission Valley Veterinary Clinic! The rattlesnake vaccine is effective for only about nine months, so if you had your dog vaccinated last year, your pet would need a booster soon. Even though dogs have a natural fear of snakes, canines tend to be curious, and a snake can strike before you or your dog sees it. To decrease the risk of being bitten, it’s a good idea to stick to well-used trails, keep your dog leashed, and don’t hike alone. It’s also important not to let your dog sniff or step where you can’t see, such as around rocks, brushy areas and downed logs.
Because the vaccine can only reduce the severity of symptoms and give you more time to seek help, bites should always be treated as soon as possible at the closest veterinary emergency facility—even if your pet is vaccinated.
If your pet spends lots of time outdoors or accompanies you on hikes and other adventures, we strongly encourage you to keep their rattlesnake vaccine current!