For which snakes does the rattlesnake vaccination give protection?
The rattlesnake vaccination gives the most protection against the venom of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Because the venom of this snake is very similar to that of the Timber Rattlesnake and the Copperhead, there may also be protection provided against these two local species. This vaccine does not protect against the Cottonmouth (Water moccasin) or the Texas Coral Snake.
How does the vaccination work?
The vaccination stimulates the pet’s immune system to produce neutralizing antibodies toward the venom thus lessening its toxic effects.This gives the pet a better chance of survival after having been bitten by the snake. This does not mean that vaccinated dogs bitten by a snake will not need immediate medical care nor will it guarantee a pet’s survival. A rattlesnake bite should always be treated as a medical emergency.
Which dogs should have the rattlesnake vaccination?
The rattlesnake vaccine should be considered for any dog which is at risk of encountering a rattlesnake. Higher risk dogs include hunting dogs or free roaming dogs with access to land or property which is hospitable to rattlesnakes. Lower risk dogs include indoor-only dogs that only go outside on a leash to urinate or defecate.
How often should a dog be vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine?
When started the rattlesnake vaccination should be given twice about four weeks apart. It should then be given every 6 months to maintain antibody levels. It may also be given every 4 months to dogs at exceptionally high risk.