Rattlesnake Bites

Vaccines & Training are Available but Vigilance is the Best Preventative


My wife was walking our dog Sasha on an asphalt path and came upon an immature rattle snake. Sasha got nipped on the nose. Within 20 minutes Sasha was admitted to the ICU. She spent two nights hooked up to IVs and given antibiotics. It was a very scary experience (for us, too!). Please warn your readers to be vigilant when walking your pets around open fields.

Dr. Nichol:

Rattlesnakes are a truly serious threat; 150,000 dogs and cats are bitten annually in the US. Young snakes are especially dangerous because they tend to secrete more venom.


Rattlesnake venom is mighty toxic causing tissue destruction, local nerve paralysis, and damage to the blood clotting mechanism. Bruising, swelling, pain, rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, lethargy, and shock are common signs that can be delayed for 8 hours. Small pets and those who are active following a bite are in the greatest danger.


Thanks for sharing Sasha’s story. The best prevention is vigilance. A rattlesnake vaccine is available and there are training methods for “snake proofing” dogs but neither is guaranteed. Fortunately, hibernation is right around the corner. Let’s stay alert.