Should You Vaccinate your Pet Against Rattlesnakes?

by Dr. Ryan Bullock

I remember the frantic phone call well one summer when my brother’s wife was on the other end of the line telling me that their English Setter “Belle” had just been bitten several times by a rattlesnake (3 times in the neck and 5 times in the chest to be exact) while out on their land. My first thought was to get her emergency care, but my second thought was “thank goodness I had given her a rattlesnake vaccine 3 weeks prior when I had her in the clinic for a dental cleaning”. Belle spent several days in the hospital, but she eventually pulled through and is doing great now! I have no doubt that she would have died if she hadn’t been vaccinated.

In 2005, a company called Red Rock Biologics ( developed a “rattlesnake vaccine”. The purpose of the vaccine is to lessen the severity of damage done by a rattlesnake bite and hopefully save pet’s lives. It works by producing protective antibodies in your pet’s body that will help to neutralize the venom. It is most effective with Western Diamondback bites, but is also at least partially effective against all other rattlesnakes except the Mojave. It is effective against Copperheads, but IS NOT effective against Water Moccasins (Cotton Mouths) or Coral Snakes.

The vaccine only lessens the severity of the bite, but does not entirely mitigate all of its effects, so you should still seek emergency care in every case! Factors such as size of pet, size of snake, location of bite, and amount of venom injected all contribute to the end result. Every snake bite is different and all need emergency veterinary care!

So what results have we seen? Overall, we have seen that most patients that receive the vaccine fair better than those who have not. The patients seem to recover quicker, especially if medical treatment is achieved as soon as possible. Each patient’s case is different and factors like where the patient was bit and the size of snake seem to come into play, as well. All in all, I am impressed with the results and recommend vaccination for any “at risk” dog. I know “Belle” highly recommends it to all of her dog buddies!

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Exciting News

Dear Valued CanyonVet Clients,

We have some exciting news to share… we have reached an agreement to purchase Animal House Veterinary Clinic in Spring Branch! Animal House V.C. is located on HWY 281 N close to the intersection of 281 and FM 306. The clinic is approximately 19 miles west of our Canyon Lake location, Canyon City Animal Hospital, and 23 miles northwest of our New Braunfels location, Hunters Canyon Animal Hospital. We will be renaming the clinic to CanyonVet Spring Branch. We are taking over ownership on May 1st from Dr. Diron Wunderlich and will reopen under our new name on May 13th!

Dr. Stephanie Buntain will be leaving Canyon City Animal Hospital to become the primary veterinarian at CanyonVet Spring Branch. I know that many of you will miss seeing Dr. Buntain at Canyon City A.H., but the good news is that she will not be far away in Spring Branch. CanyonVet Spring Branch is a spacious, 3600 square foot, free standing building situated on 3 acres above HWY 281 N. We are very excited to bring the on time appointments, fear free care, and over the top customer service you have come to expect at our other CanyonVet locations to a new location. Our hope is that the added location will be more convenient for many of you.

Please feel free to reach out to myself or our Practice Director, Marsha Godfrey, if you have any questions. Keep checking this website for additional updates. Thanks so much for being loyal clients of CanyonVet and we look forward to seeing some of you in Spring Branch!

Ryan Bullock, DVM
Veterinarian, Owner, President

Marsha Godfrey
Practice Director

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