If your dog spends a lot of time outside, there’s always a possibility it could be exposed to rattlesnake activity, depending on the kinds of outdoor activities you like to enjoy with your pup. Animals have been getting the rattlesnake vaccine in the United States since July 2003, and many dog owners who like to take their pets on outdoor adventures feel it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Here’s some information to consider when deciding whether or not rattlesnakes should be covered in your pet’s vaccinations in Saint Francisville, LA.
The dangers of snake bites
Studies show there are approximately 300,000 dogs and cats that suffer venomous snake bites each year. That’s a pretty significant number of animals getting attacked by snakes. Consider this: all dogs get the rabies vaccine, but dogs are actually 500 times more likely to be bitten by a poisonous snake than to contract rabies, which shows just how widespread of a problem this is in certain parts of the country.
If your dog is bitten by a venomous snake, there’s a possibility the bite could be fatal, as the venom could cause major damage to the brain, liver and muscles if not treated quickly enough. For this reason, it’s important to consider adding the rattlesnake booster to your dog’s shots. Even if you don’t think your dog would frequently be exposed to snakes, it at least can’t hurt them.
About the rattlesnake vaccine
The rattlesnake vaccine encourages the dog’s immune system to create antibodies that fight against snake venom. This means the dog won’t have as severe a reaction to a snakebite as it might without the vaccine. Experts recommend it for dogs in high-risk parts of the country where rattlesnakes are common, like in Louisiana. It’s particularly important for dogs that go on hikes, go hunting or accompany their owners on camping trips. Dogs should be vaccinated at least 30 days before any potential exposure would occur, and then get booster shots every six months thereafter.
There are a few primary benefits to getting the rattlesnake vaccine. The obvious benefit is that it gives you more time to get your pet to the vet if a bite does occur. The dog will experience significantly less pain, swelling and tissue sloughing. Even if some swelling does occur, vaccinated dogs will see it go down within about 20 to 30 minutes after the bite.
The vaccine also provides protection against multiple species of rattlesnakes, including copperheads, the western diamondback, the western rattler, pygmy rattlers, sidewinders, timber rattlers and massasaugas.
Of course, there is always the disclaimer that the vaccine is not 100 percent effective. Vaccinated dogs that are bitten can still suffer severe consequences, and a bite should still be treated as an emergency. In the majority of cases, though, the vaccine will vastly improve outlooks and outcomes.
For more information about the various benefits of pet vaccinations in Saint Francisville, LA, we encourage you to contact St. Francisville Animal Hospital today. We’d be glad to answer any questions you have!
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