A new vaccine by Red Rock Biologics can reduce the risk of painful injury and death from rattlesnake bites in dogs. The vaccination is given in two doses about one month apart. To remain effective it is boostered every 6 months; a good idea since rattle snakes may be encountered year ’round in New Mexico. Possible vaccine side effects can include an allergic reaction and swelling at the site of the injection.

 

Just because your dog lives here doesn’t mean he has to have this; more vaccinations aren’t always better. An immunized dog who is bitten should still get medical attention. The real benefit is to reduce the severity of symptoms. The wound would be less painful and there would be less need for treatment with rattlesnake antivenin.

 

Like many of my colleagues I encourage rattlesnake vaccination only for dogs at significant risk. If you’re interested ask your good veterinarian for specific