A rattlesnake bite is always an emergency in veterinary medicine. Even if your pet is protected with the rattlesnake vaccine, you should always seek veterinary attention urgently!
Now, let’s begin to discuss the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs.
The rattlesnake vaccine for dogs is produced from the venom of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. The venom is inactivated and rendered safe. After the vaccination series and after vaccination boosters, your dog’s immune system should respond with the production of antibodies. These antibodies should neutralize the snake’s venom – if your dog is envenomated. Neutralizing the venom should help reduce the inflammatory and toxic response that the venom will cause inside the body of your dog.
Because the venom is different from different kinds of snakes and even rattlesnakes, there is variable protection from different species of snakes. The vaccine manufacturer reports this immune response and protection from the venom as – Great, Good, Limited, and None.
What does that mean to our veterinary population in San Antonio and South Texas? I will list what seems to be the most pertinent species of snakes
Great – Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (the most important in San Antonio) and Copperhead
Good – Timber Rattler
Limited – Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
None – Coral Snake (what Dr. Powell found in his garage) and Cottonmouth
Other cross protection:
Other great protections include the Black Tail Rattler, Western Rattler, North and South Pacific Rattlers, Prairie Rattler, Great Basin Rattler. Other good protection includes Pygmy Rattlers, Massasauga Rattlers, Sidewinder/Horned Rattlers. No protection for the Mojave Green Rattlesnake.
Remember, the rattlesnake vaccine does not prevent the need for emergent veterinary care if your dog is bit by a rattlesnake!
Let’s discuss more of the vaccine specifics in the our next veterinary blog post Rattlesnake Vaccine FAQ: San Antonio Pets & Vets.
(vaccine manufacturer data in this blog obtained/confirmed on Phone interview with Red Rock Biologics on 5/9/18)