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Snake Bite

Austin Vet Dog Snake Bite
Spotty, Day 2. Recovering from snake bite. Note two puncture wounds on bridge of nose.

We see numerous snake bite dogs each year. Snake bites are considered a veterinary emergency. These bites can result in serious injury or even death. It is essential to get your dog to a veterinary hospital as quickly as possible. Venom can cause organ damage and interfere with blood clotting. Swelling of the head can become so sever that it can block a dog’s airway. Quickest deaths occur when a dog has been bitten on the body, the circulatory system shuts down, causing organ failure, all within 30 minutes.

Fortunately, the survival rate for snake bite victims has increased. The increased survival rate is due to two primarily reasons:

1. A new rattlesnake vaccine from Red Rock Biologics
2. Quick actions by informed pet owners

Rattlesnake Vaccine

AVDH offers the canine rattle snake vaccine. The initial vaccination can be administered at 12 weeks of age. A booster is required 4-6 weeks after the initial vaccination. The vaccine works by stimulating your dog’s immunity to defend against harmful toxins.

Quick Actions by Owners

Even if your dog has been vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine, it should be taken to a veterinarian for evaluation and care. We can determinate additional treatment if necessary. For example, fluids, and antibiotic treatment may be needed.

Dogs not given a Rattlesnake Vaccine have a more difficult time of recovery; however, bites are still treatable. When your dog has been bitten:

  • Try to identify the snake by taking note of its size, color patterns and the presence of a rattle
  • Look your dog over carefully for fang marks, noting that there may be more than one bite wound
  • Keep your dog as quiet as possible
  • Get to a veterinary hospital for further consultation