Do I want the rattlesnake vaccine for my dog?
- Can my dog get the rattlesnake vaccination?
At our San Antonio veterinary hospital, we can administer the initial vaccine to dogs and puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. Then our veterinary technicians will administer a booster (second) vaccine 1 month later. The dog is considered to be protected 1 month after the second vaccination. The dogs should maintain antibodies in their bloodstream for at least 6 months.
- After the initial vaccine series, how frequently do we vaccinate dogs with the rattlesnake vaccine? Like many vaccinations, it depends on your dog’s exposure and risk.
For most suburban backyard dogs (the majority of our San Antonio pet population), an annual vaccination in the spring seems adequate since the majority of our snake season in San Antonio is late spring, summer, and early fall. One vaccine; wait one month; good for 6 months; seems good to go.
For our hunting dogs that are exposed 12 months a year in South Texas or the Hill Country, then our veterinarians recommend vaccination every 6 months.
And finally, a new recommendation that I learned today – for search and rescue dogs, the vaccine manufacturer recommends every 3-4 months.
- What other considerations need to be given to the vaccination for dogs?
We do expect a small bump to form where we give the initial vaccination (due to the 1cc of vaccine injected under the skin). This bump should resolve within a few days. We will often see a small bump develop in that location in 2-3 weeks. This is your dog’s body mounting a response to the inactivated venom. If this second lump persists, call us and we can likely advise on how to resolve this at home.
- Additional note on the initial vaccine series
As a note for the initial vaccination series, the manufacturer suggests waiting another month and administering a third vaccination on dogs under 25lbs and over 100lbs. Note: we have not adhered closely to the recommendation for a third vaccination at our veterinary hospital. There is no scientific/clinical data to support this, but there are logical thoughts to suggest the need for additional boosters in these weight categories. A smaller dog may be overcome by an envenomation and therefore more antibodies produced by additional vaccinations may be helpful. A larger dog may need more antibodies to fight an envenomation due to the increased body mass.
- Other questions?
Of course our team of veterinarians and veterinary support staff can work to answer any other questions or concerns you may have about your pet’s exposure and your pet’s needs in regards to the rattlesnake vaccine or any other pet vaccines for that matter.
Remember, the rattlesnake vaccine does not prevent the need for emergent veterinary care if your dog is bit by a rattlesnake!
For more information on the veterinary care associated with Rattlesnakes and Coral Snakes, please see our other blog – Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs: San Antonio Pets & Vets .
(vaccine manufacturer data in this blog obtained/confirmed on Phone interview with Red Rock Biologics on 5/9/18)