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Has anyone gotten the snake bite vaccine for their dog? We're in Central Oregon and will be spending the winter in southern New Mexico. A google search seems to indicate that the vaccine can be very effective if the dog is bitten. Our vet says it couldn't hurt to have it.

 

 

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The anti-venom is not a vaccine, it is something that can be administered in the event of a bite. It is my understanding that it is not something that you just administer and then expect everything to be OK. Our poodle was bitten by a rattler a number of years ago and the anti-venom was used on her at ~$500/dose. It was combined with intensive care for several days all of which took place in an emergency vet.

Edited by docj

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I agree with Docj. As soon as your dog gets bitten get to the vet! They will administer what needs to be administered and otherwise take care of the dog. We had a little Scottie that got bitten by a rattler. He was struck just above the eye. We rushed him to the vet and they administered meds and kept him under observation for a few days. He survived but lost one of his eyes. Good luck. HamRad

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Rattlesnake Vaccine is not the same as antivenom. A web search will turn up numerous other articles including This One. I have not had any of my hunting dogs vaccinated, but do train them to avoid snakes.

Edited by TCW

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Yes, I've had my black lab vaccinated the last 3 years. since our winter ranch in southern NM has a healthy population of western diamondbacks and I don't keep her on a leash when we're on our own property, the vet recommended we add the snake vaccine to her annual shots. After the initial 2 shots, its a booster once or twice a year. He says its effective for at least 6 months, so we get it each fall just before heading south. If they get bitten, they still need quick treatment, but the vaccine makes it less life threatening. So far we haven't tested it, the dog has been better at avoiding snakes than I have. In the middle of winter when the overnight lows are below 40 the rattlers stay in their dens, but late fall and early spring they are very active down here. Summertime, we're high up in the Colorado Rockies and never see a rattler, but lots of black bears.

 

 

Has anyone gotten the snake bite vaccine for their dog? We're in Central Oregon and will be spending the winter in southern New Mexico. A google search seems to indicate that the vaccine can be very effective if the dog is bitten. Our vet says it couldn't hurt to have it.

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Thank you all for the replies and the information.

 

Jim2 - Where in NM are you? We're spending the winter at our lot just outside of Columbus. Your information specific to NM was very helpful. We've decided to get Zoe vaccinated before we leave Oregon. Better to be safe than sorry.

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Rattlesnake Vaccine is not the same as antivenom. A web search will turn up numerous other articles including This One. I have not had any of my hunting dogs vaccinated, but do train them to avoid snakes.

 

I apologize; I was not aware of the vaccine; we no longer have a dog. Here's an article about it. You should be aware that it only is sold as protective against western diamondback rattlers and may be effective against another snake venom. http://www.vetstreet.com/care/rattlesnake-vaccine-for-dogs

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My winter home base is SE of Deming, 80 acres at the eastern base of the Florida mountains. If you've been to Spring Canyon State park, I'm due east on the other side of the mountain.

I'm up in Colorado now. I usually leave NM around the end of April and head back down there the end of Oct. The first 6 weeks and the last 6 weeks down there are when we see the most rattlers. My neighbors who spend all year living there have all lost dogs to the rattlers during summer. I've completely cleared about 5 acres around my house and that definitely cuts down on the snakes. they don't like to be out in the open; we have lots of hawks & road runners who feed on snakes. The ones that stay out in the bush don't bother me and I don't bother them. The ones who come up to my house get used for target practice. A couple years ago I had my HDT inside the garage doing an oil change, with the garage doors open for air circulation. I was on a creeper under the truck and a rattler had made its way inside, by the time I noticed its motion, it was about 8 ft from my head. found out this old man can still move pretty fast when needed

 

Jim2 - Where in NM are you? We're spending the winter at our lot just outside of Columbus. Your information specific to NM was very helpful. We've decided to get Zoe vaccinated before we leave Oregon. Better to be safe than sorry.

Edited by Jim2

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Someone else mentioned it, but it's worth noting again: The rattlesnake vaccine is only for the Western Diamondback rattlesnake. *Some* cross-protection *may* exist against the venom of the Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake. There is currently no evidence of cross-protection against the venom of the Mojave rattlesnake.

 

At any rate, it's recommended to administer two doses of the vaccine about a month apart and then annually thereafter. However, unless you have the Western Diamondback rattlesnake in the area of Oregon you're in, I wouldn't bother with the vaccine (and, according to everything I've read about the Western Diamondback rattlesnake, they don't range that far north).

Edited by LindaH

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I wonder how to teach dogs to stay back? I know our Mini Dachsund would attack a snake, as he already attacked the neighbors pitbull, so he doesn't have a history of making sound decisions. Our Min-Pin leaves things be, but she is mostly blind and would walk right over a snake.

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...I wonder how to teach dogs to stay back? ...

Research aversion training and snake proofing. In my experience, it is not a one time deal like some claim and does require periodic refresher training.

 

Those that want to use positive reinforcement training can use the methods used by the USDA, Customs and state wildlife agencies to train dogs to detect snakes in ocean and air cargo and most recently in the python hunts in the Everglades, but that will result in the dog actively hunting for snakes rather than avoiding those it randomly encounters.

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I looked into this iin some detail. The vaccines used for rattlesnakes are derived from Western Diamondback venom. It is effective in most of the time, is unpredictable and cases and can have a huge negative effect on your dog. A better solution is rattlesnake training. There are different methods from aversion and shock collar training to scent training. There is a caveat with snake training. It is unpredictable as there is no telling how your dog will react to the training or the snake. While many dogs back away others will charge the snake and others will stand there and bark. All in all snake training is a better option than a vaccine and a lot cheaper too costing about $75-100US. In the long run I decided not to do either opting for keeping my eyes open in the early season when they swarm ur of their dens. Rattlers are mostly active at night, hide in shade during the heat of the day and are non-aggressive. Rattlers only strike at large (dog size) targets in defense unless startled. You should also know rattlers can meter the amount of venom in a strike even withhold it if they choose. No rattler will give up it's entire supply of venom even in defense because they still need the case (venom) to eat with. If you startle a rattler into striking know that there is a 50/50 chance that there will be no envenomation, what is called a dry strike.

 

Does that help?

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...A better solution is rattlesnake training. There are different methods from aversion and shock collar training to scent training. There is a caveat with snake training. It is unpredictable as there is no telling how your dog will react to the training or the snake. While many dogs back away others will charge the snake and others will stand there and bark...

As one who has actually snake proofed a number of my own dogs (eight that I can remember) and knows several others that have done the same, I have some comments to these statements. A shock collar is a training tool that is sometimes used in aversion training as well as other types of training. The dog's aversion response is solicited to the scent, sight and/or sound of the snake. If the dog attacks the snake that is a real problem that needs additional work. If the dog alerts by standing and barking, that may actually help the handler avoid the snake more than if the dog just turns and moves away from the snake unnoticed by the handler. Unless the dog is at heel or on a short leash, I think it is very likely a dog will detect a snake and possibly get into trouble before the handler sees the snake.

 

As for "there is no telling how your dog will react to the training", that could be said for all training programs and is why there is a significant failure rate for Service Dog and K-9 training programs. I have yet to be unsuccessful in snake proofing one of my dogs and do not know any of my acquantances that have had failures either, so my guess is that failure rates are lower than some other dog training programs.

 

My last comment is that in my experience, snake proofing is not species specific. The dogs that I have snake proofed will avoid non-poisinous snakes as well as rattlesnakes and cottonmouths (which in my opinion and experience are more aggressive and thus more dangerous than rattlesnakes). As I mentioned in my previous post, in my experience refresher training may be necessary and in my experience, any snake will do.

Edited by TCW

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yes, Ranger. My Siberian got struck by a 4' Copperhead moccasin about 5 years ago. I rushed her to the vet 3 blocks away and they said that was the exact right thing to do. He immediately gave her a big shot of antihistamine to keep the swelling down and reduce shock.

It bit her on the face and nose. and for a couple of years, you could still see the black spots where the fangs penetrated.

The vet had previously been a vet in central Florida for 5 years and had seen several dozen dogs of all sorts and sizes come in with snake bites, some specifically identified and some not. He said that the only long term damage to any of them was that one older dog lost a toe due to the necrotic effects of the venom and the poor circulation.

 

Needless to say, she has not been interested in snakes after that. His comments about antivenom were pretty specific and that it was usually reserved for children and the elderly. He also said that the only antivenom was for Diamond Back Rattlesnakes and the effectiveness against the venom of other snakes could be useless or even cause severe side effects.

 

Granted, a copperhead is the most benign of the moccasin snake family but knowing exactly what bit her and getting instantly to a vet were the two most important factors for survivability. I would think this is true for humans, too.

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