Rattlesnakes are making their annual debut

If you live in desert-like areas, you are likely aware of the risk of rattlesnakes around your home and the places you spend time outdoors. While you may not always be able to keep your dog out of harm’s way, helping to protect them with a vaccine can provide you extra time to seek medical help in the case your dog is bit.

The vaccine provides dogs with protective antibodies that are reported to help dogs experience less pain and have a reduced risk of permanent injury from rattlesnake bite. Veterinarians typically report that vaccinated dogs bitten by rattlesnakes experience less swelling, less tissue damage and a faster recovery from snakebite than unvaccinated dogs.

Did you know? Rattlesnake bites are about 25 times more fatal in dogs than in humans.

When should I be on the lookout for rattlesnakes?

You can expect to start seeing rattlesnakes emerge from hibernation in March or April, or when temperatures reach about 60 degrees fahrenheit. Rattlesnakes become the most active at temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees fahrenheit, which means they may be most active during the day in the spring and in the early morning and late afternoon in the summer months. Exposure to extreme temperatures can kill a rattlesnake, so they are usually only found at night in the hottest part of the summer. Activity picks up again during the day in the late summer and fall before they go into hibernation between September and December.

Rattlesnake vaccines are available at VIP Petcare clinics for $35 and are proven most effective for rattlesnakes found in Northern California, Arizona and Texas.

Please note, this vaccine is only labeled for the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, but shows significant cross-protection among other species across the United States. These include Copperheads and other common rattlesnake species, excluding Eastern and Mojave Diamondback.