Your Dog and a Rattlesnake Bite
At The Oaks Pet Hospital in Bakersfield, California, is a full-service veterinary hospital offering all the care your pet needs to be healthy and happy.
It's Snake Bite Season
Winter is behind us and temperatures are climbing. For your dog, it's snake bite season. For the Southwestern United States, which includes Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, that means the Western diamondback rattlesnake is out of hibernation. While getting a rattlesnake bite is certainly a danger to us humans, it is 25 times more fatal for dogs. It is reported that 300,000 pets are bitten by snakes annually.
Snake Bite Symptoms
How would you know if your dog has been bitten by a snake? Here are a few symptoms to look for:
- Two puncture wounds on the face, neck, or legs.
- Extremely painful swelling, bleeding, or bruising at the bite site.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Sudden weakness.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Shaking or tremors.
A snake bite is always an emergency situation and you need to get your dog to the veterinarian quickly. Time is crucial! A venomous snake bite can cause tissue damage, organ damage, blood coagulation issues, and fatality.
Evaluation of the Snake Bite
The veterinarian will take a history of the episode and will examine the dog for symptoms. He or she may also get blood work to check for venom. Treatment may include antivenom administration, pain medication, intravenous fluids, and antibiotics to prevent infection.
There is a way to slow down or minimize the effects of a rattlesnake bite. Did you know there is a rattlesnake vaccination? It can be given to dogs 4 months old and up. A shot should be given in late winter or early spring, and a booster four weeks later. After that, it should be given once a year. Although the on-label use is for the Western diamondback rattlesnake, there is evidence that it may give protection against copperheads, sidewinders, the timber rattlesnake, and some other common rattlesnakes. There is not yet a vaccine for the Eastern diamondback, coral snake, water moccasin, Mojave rattlesnake, or similar species. The vaccine is recommended in areas where rattlesnakes are prevalent, or if your lifestyle includes taking your dog hiking, camping, and hunting.
How Safe Is the Rattlesnake Vaccine?
The development of antivenin is science-based, laboratory-tested, and government-approved. Thousands of veterinary offices administer the vaccine to at-risk dogs. The side effects are rare and minimal, and may include a lump at the injection site or temporary flu-like symptoms. These symptoms tend to dissipate on their own shortly.
Set Up Your Rattlesnake Vaccine Today!
Call At The Oaks Pet Hospital in Bakersfield, California, at (661) 665-8950. Don’t let a snake bite catch you or your pets unprepared.