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What You Should Know About Rattlesnake Bites & Dogs

What You Should Know About Rattlesnake Bites & Dogs

A rattlesnake bite always qualifies as a veterinary emergency. What else should you know about rattlesnake bites and dogs? Our Gold Canyon veterinarians share some facts, cautionary measures to take and how vaccination can help protect your canine friend. 

Protecting Your Dog From Rattlesnakes

Rattlesnakes are found in a wide range of habitats and climates, from wetlands, forests and deserts; from sea level to mountains and cliffs. They are most active in warmer seasons from spring to autumn. They can typically be found year-round in southern latitudes.

Though rattlesnakes are often found where dogs roam, you’ll want to keep your canine friend away from these venomous reptiles as bites lead to serious injury and even death for thousands of dogs annually.

Is a rattlesnake bite a veterinary emergency?

Because rattlesnake venom contains a mixture of toxins that can spread throughout a dog’s body after a bite, rattlesnake bites are always considered a veterinary emergency.

When released, these toxins can cause serious symptoms and cause severe pain if injected into an unprotected dog. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a bite, the venom can cause permanent damage.

Which precautions should I take to keep my dog away from rattlesnakes?

Any time your dog treads into rattlesnake habitat, he or she is at risk of being bitten, particularly because dogs often follow protective instinct or become curious. Whether you and your dog live near rattlesnakes, venture into the woods while hiking or camping or travel through rattlesnake turf, caution should always be taken and dogs should be kept on a leash.

Like people, dogs may stumble on a snake by accident so it’s also important to have your dog vaccinated.

What are the benefits of rattlesnake vaccine for my dog?

Vaccines work by stimulating an animal’s immune system to defend the body against potentially harmful agents. Rattlesnake vaccine can help your dog’s body develop immunity to protect your pooch against the effects of rattlesnake venom.

Vaccination can reduce the impact of a rattlesnake’s bite if your dog does happen to get bitten, and reduce or eliminate the need for antivenom, in addition to decreasing other treatment costs.

My dog has been bitten, what should I do next?

Even if your dog has been vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, he should visit a veterinarian for assessment and care as soon as possible after being bitten by a rattlesnake. Your vet can determine whether your dog will need additional treatment.

Even bites from non-venomous snakes may lead to serious infections and your dog may require antibiotic treatment.

Treatment may require antivenom injections, which can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. These injections are also associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions that can cause complications during recovery. Other costs of treatment for rattlesnake bites may include intravenous fluids, medicines, surgery and/or hospitalization. A veterinarian is the best person to consult when making medical decisions for your dog.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog has been bitten by a rattlesnake? Our vets are experienced in treating many common injuries and conditions in pets. Book an appointment at Companion Pet Clinic of Arizona today.

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