Cinema Veterinary Centre

Rattlesnake Season and Vaccination

Posted on Mar 05, 2013 by jronchetto  | Tags: pet safety

Can you believe it’s already March? The year is passing before our very eyes, and now that it is March that means next month will start warming up – and the start of Rattlesnake season begins. Unfortunately, the Santa Clarita Valley landscape is a very common place for these reptiles. While we as humans know the danger they can bring and know to stay away from them, our canine friends are very curious by nature which can be a big problem for us all come rattlesnake season.

                The Santa Clarita Valley has prime real estate for the rattlesnake; however these venomous reptiles have an incredibly painful and deadly bite. Their bites results in serious injury or even death to approximately 300,000 dogs and cats each year in the United States. Rattlesnake season in this area is typically in the warmer seasons, from April to October when they are most active. Rattlesnakes can be found anywhere- from your backyard, hiking trails around the area, and even found when camping or hunting. When their venom is injected into an unprotected dog, the toxins are very painful and can have serious consequences. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a rattlesnake bite, he can be permanently injured by the venom. Treatment of snakebite can be extremely expensive and usually can cost up to thousands of dollars for proper treatment; this may include hospitalization, intravenous fluids, other medicines, and even surgery. Vaccination can help reduce the impact of snakebite, and protects our pets.

                Thankfully the rattlesnake vaccine was created to help slow down the process of the toxin release for our furry friends. The vaccine helps create an immunity that protects against rattlesnake venom and the protective antibodies function by neutralizing the rattlesnakes’ venom. Dogs with protective antibodies are reported to experience less pain and have reduced risk of permanent injury from rattlesnake bite. Dogs can receive the vaccine as early as four months old, usually one more booster is needed and then it is boostered yearly. Depending on the dogs size however, sometimes three boosters may be needed. Dogs that are 25 pounds and under will need three boosters four weeks apart as they are more susceptible to envenomation injury, these boosters help maximize their antibody protection. Dogs that are 100 pounds and over will also need three boosters four weeks apart; because of their size they don’t acquire a high antibody level as easily. The rattlesnake vaccine can be given to any dog as long as they are up to date on their annual exam; the vaccine cost $25 regularly, but during our vaccine clinic it is only $15.50.

                It is important to note that this vaccine is not a cure all. It only gives you time to get to a hospital with your pet to be treated as it slows down the venomous process. All dogs should be immediately taken to a veterinarian to be treated if bitten by a rattlesnake, regardless if they have been vaccinated or not! Rattlesnakes are usually found in wetlands, deserts and forests; they usually hide under bushes, near ivy, and anywhere that allows them to easily blend in to their surroundings and are active day or night.

                We at Cinema Veterinary Centre want our clients to be as informed as possible. Rattlesnakes are a serious and real threat, but the more educated you are and by having your pet vaccinated you will be able to rest easy. Remember to keep your pet on clear pathways, keep an eye out for snakes and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to come in or call us!