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                       VACCINE AVAILABLE!!!!!!!!!! 

Rattlesnakes, Pit Vipers, and other poisonous snakes are in many regions of the Wetlands, Mountain Areas, Deserts, and your backyards. Unexpectedly, one can be hiking, or just taking a leisurely walk with their pet and be confronted with a poisonous snake. If you live near areas that are noted for snakes, or it maybe the warmer months during the year, be very attentive.  If you note your pet is more curious of movement in the tall grasses or on the trails take precautions. The southwest states are plagued all year round with Sidewinders, Rattlers, and other poisonous snakes. Protect and Save your pet from the agony of a bite as there is a vaccine to help protect them. Consult with your veterinarian, and know your options.

 : Olivia here!
Olivia here!
 : Hi I'm Kona
Hi I'm Kona

Many of us live near, and around Rattlesnake areas.  We may travel with our dogs to the mountains, wetlands, and deserts.  Many of the species of Rattlesnakes are more active in the warmer months and in many areas, they will be found year-round.  Dogs are at risk for rattlesnake bites; in fact dogs are about 20 times more likely to be bitten by venomous snakes than people and are about 25 times more likely to die from the bite. Snake bites whether to a human or dog are life threatening, extremely painful, and can cause permanent damage. Dogs can encounter a rattlesnake anytime they are in rattlesnake habitat.  Like people, dogs may stumble over the location of a snake by accident. Curiosity or a protective instinct can place you and your best friend at risk. When dogs encounter snakes during play or work in the snake’s natural habitat, most bites tend to occur on the face or extremities. The rattlesnake bite is generally “hemotoxic” its toxin will start disrupting the integrity of the blood vessels. The swelling is often dramatic with up to 1/3 of the total blood circulation being lost into the tissues in a matter of hours.  There is however a vaccine available now from your veterinarian. This particular vaccine was developed in 2003 by Red Rock Biologics and it has provided the best protection against poisonous snake venom. It has become practice for many veterinarians a standard vaccination for your pet especially if you reside in high risk areas.  This vaccine is the best protection for your dog against poisonous snake bits. As with all vaccines your pet will develop antibodies to help decrease the severity of  poisonous snake bites.  This particular vaccine was developed specifically for the toxin of  the Western Diamondback and will provide the best protection against the venom of other type of poisonous snakes e.g. Copperheads, Pit Viper, and other known Rattlers.  The vaccine however does not provide protection against the Mojave rattlesnake, Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Cottonmouths or Coral snakes.

The vaccine works by stimulating the dog’s immune system to produce antibodies against rattlesnake toxin. Initially, a dog should receive two subcutaneous doses about 30 days apart.  It is best to give vaccination boosters about 30 days before beginning of exposure to rattlesnakes. Protection peaks about 30 to 45 days after boosters and lasts about six months.  As the antibodies are short lived and the vaccine typically only provides protection for six months, a booster shot is necessary either once a year one month before “snake season” or twice a year in areas where rattlesnakes are year-round risks. The level of protection of  the vaccine or any vaccine depends on how the dog produces these specific antibodies, as well as in humans when receiving vaccines.  Almost no vaccine is effective 100% of the time and there are undoubtedly some dogs, as in humans whose immune systems just won’t produce as many antibodies necessary for maximum protection, but the partial protection they receive may still be enough to save their life and  help recover more quickly..Even good antibody protection can be overcome in special snakebite circumstances.  Special snakebite circumstances include smaller dogs, larger snakes, multiple snake bites to the same dog, and bites near vital organs. Larger snakes can produce and deliver larger doses of venom in a single bite.  Multiple snake bites to the same dog can naturally deliver larger quantities of venom. 

The reported benefits of vaccination include a delay in onset of symptoms, fewer symptoms, less severe symptoms, a decrease in mortality rate.  As mentioned previously, according to Red Rock Biologics, the manufacturers of the rattlesnake vaccine, the antibody levels in recently vaccinated dogs are comparable to treatment with three vials of antivenin. Since the most common mechanism of death from rattlesnake bite is circulatory collapse, intravenous fluid support, antibiotic therapy, cardiac and blood pressure monitoring, antihistamine administration and pain management are very important.  All canines will still need emergency veterinary treatment even with the vaccine, but they should experience less pain and a reduced risk of permanent injury from the rattlesnake bite. Snakebites are always an emergency.  Even non-venomous snake bites can lead to serious infections and antibiotic treatment may be needed. Antivenin is very helpful in the inactivation of snake venom but there is a narrow window during which it must be used. After about 4 hours post-bite, antivenin is less effective in countering the effects of snake venom.In summary, rattlesnake bites are a serious life threatening injury and immediate veterinary care is warranted for the best success rates in surviving the ordeal. The benefits of prophylactic vaccination include more time to get to a veterinary hospital, the reduction in the amount of pain and swelling experienced, faster recovery times, and a decrease in the mortality rate. It is not meant as a sole means of protection.

Always consult your veterinarian regarding the vaccine especially if you are living or traveling to areas that are known to have poisonous snakes, you are their Guardian and their Voice to save and protect!! 

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Believe, we are all part of the Angelic Dance of Life, that someday we will understand.

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Be a child in your heart, this is what will drive you during your lifetime.  

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