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Keep up with news and features of interest to the reptile and amphibian community on the kingsnake.com blog. We cover breaking stories from the mainstream and scientific media, user-submitted photos and videos, and feature articles and photos by Jeff Barringer, Richard Bartlett, and other herpetologists and herpetoculturists.

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When dog meets rattlesnake, time and a plan make all the difference

By Jeff Barringer
Wed, June 4 2014 at 11:29

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Jean Dougherty - #1 - 2014-06-05 09:03 - (Reply)

Hi,
Your story about Ruby being bit by a Rattlesnake made me want to be aware and have a plan as we begin to travel in our Motorhome. Can you help me develop a plan in case my Bouvier, Rocky was to come upon a snake in our travels. I want to be prepared!
Thank you,
Jean Dougherty

Sandy Handsher - #1.1 - 2014-06-07 01:27 - (Reply)

When my dog got bit by a rattlesnake, the old, experienced vet I took him to said:
1. remove the collar first. Most dogs die from asphyxiation when the neck swells and the collar chokes them.
2. he had stopped using the anti-venom shot, because he had seen as much allergic reaction to it as to the snake bite. He used a 24 hour drip of pain killer, antihistamine, and a 3rd thing I can't remember.
3. The most dangerous rattlesnakes are babies, young ones. They don't know when to let go. So the bigger the snake the better.
4. Proximity to veins, sources of bloodstream, determine how dangerous the bite is (in addition to age of the rattlesnake). For example, a dog bit on the tongue is in more danger than a dog bit on the cheek.
5. after treatment, the dog needs to be watched for at least 3 weeks. I would take him to the Emergency vet if I had to go somewhere and no one else was available to watch him. He recovered completely, with just a small black spot of necrosis on his muzzle. He had PSTD, though, because he was afraid of a stuffed toy rattlesnake someone had at the dog park. My PTSD lasted much longer!

My current dog is vaccinated against rattlesnake bites. It won't absolutely save her life, but it will diminish the power of the snake venom.

Hope this helps.
Sandy

Kay Smith - #2 - 2014-06-05 11:33 - (Reply)

Did your dogs receive the rattlesnake vaccine or is this something that really doesn't help?

Bryan Starrett - #2.1 - 2014-06-05 17:29 - (Reply)

Regarding the efficacy of Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccine for dogs;

"Recommendations for booster vaccination are still under development, but it appears that adequate titers do not persist beyond one year after vaccination. Adverse reactions appear to be low and consistent with those resulting from vaccination with other products available on the market. The product license is currently conditional as efficacy and potency have not been fully demonstrated. Based on existing evidence, the UC Davis VMTH does not currently recommend routine vaccination of dogs for rattlesnake envenomation, and the vaccine is not stocked by our pharmacy."

http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vmth/small_animal/internal_medicine/newsletters/vaccination_protocols.cfm

Diane Weber - #3 - 2014-06-05 14:12 - (Reply)

Hang in there Ruby! Get better quickly. Your human needs you!

timothy - #3.1 - 2014-06-05 16:05 - (Reply)

if only there more people that loved there dog like u and me this would be a better place for all animals sending ruby healing energy hoping she gets better.

E. M. Wommack - #4 - 2014-06-05 15:20 - (Reply)

Prayers for Ruby. Hope he has made ii through the worst of it and her eye is fully healed.

susan roberts - #5 - 2014-06-05 16:09 - (Reply)

Get better quickly ruby.

cheryl - #6 - 2014-06-06 19:08 - (Reply)

How is she doing now?

Dianne - #7 - 2014-06-07 03:07 - (Reply)

Please update us on Ruby~ my heart goes out to her and I hope she is comfortable and not suffering pain and the effects of the snake bite....I genuinely care, as do many, please update us on Ruby.....

Jeff Barringer - #8 - 2014-06-07 19:00 - (Reply)

Ruby is doing very well. She was released from the hospital Thursday night and has been recovering at home. She was very swollen, much more so than the picture above, but much of that swelling has gone now and we are waiting to see how much tissue damage she has to her face. But it does appear that she can see out of her eye and the surrounding muscle tissue does not seem to have been impacted. Right now the eye is crusted over with dried blood and mucus, and is still swollen, which makes it difficult, but not impossible, for her to see.


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