- Jun 12, 2019 at 9:45 pm #3597463
Sacrificial first uneditable postJun 12, 2019 at 9:47 pm #3597466
We have our dog vaccinated for Rattlesnake venom but this is the first time I’ve read of an account where it was a factor.
Do your own due diligence, talk to your vet, yadda, yadda.
Owner’s story copy and pasted from the Vet’s office that treated the pup.
“SPOILER ALERT: Jett, my cool sweet crazy flat coated Border Collie got bit by a rattle snake this morning. He is currently recuperating at Horse Heaven Hills Pet Urgent Care and is expected to fully recover. As most of you know, Rose and I have hiked Badger weekly, for 7 years now. This has never happened. We are very fortunate in that we are looking at a good ending of this story. Here is what I want to share with you:
THE STORY: Jett got bit while off leash, in the brush, not on the trail. We didn’t actually witness it. He jumped back on the trail in a ‘spaz’, with his tail between his legs. At the same time Rose and I heard distinct hissing. We both suspected right then that there had been a snake encounter. Jett is fast, so we were hoping that he had escaped a bite: he didn’t yelp, and he didn’t immediately act like he was in pain, he just acted intimidated. Thankfully, we were 10 minutes from the parking lot. We recently learned about the benefits of giving dogs Benadryl following a snakebite. Rose had found the article (just a couple of months ago!!), and had Benadryl and peanut butter in the car. The dose is 1 mg per pound of body weight. Jet weighs 40 pounds, so we gave him 50 mg right away. We noticed his lip was now swelling. We then knew for sure he was bit and that we needed to get him to the vet for anti-venom. I called my own vet, and they referred me to the Horse Heaven Hills Pet Urgent Care clinic. Very few carry the actual anti-venom (different then the vaccine)! As soon as I got to the clinic, they took him in treatment, had me sign a consent form, and he is there for the rest of the day until I pick him up tonight.
THINGS I LEARNED:
-We were lucky: if a rattlesnake bite ever “had” to happen to one of our dogs, the circumstances today were “ideal”….
-We were 10 mins from the parking lot…
-Our dogs have all had rattle snake vaccine and the yearly boosters which DELAYS the effect of the venom, it buys more time…and
-We had Benadryl on hand which delayed the effect of the venom with it’s anti-histamine and sedative effect.
-When all is said and done the bill today will be around $1400. The anti-venom is crazy expensive, and all the monitoring around it adds up.
-I will not ever judge you for spending that amount of $$ on a dog. I did it today, and did not hesitate a moment.
-The snake in this picture is a bull snake, not a rattle. I know many of you will tell me the snakes are the reasons you will never go up the mountain. We will go back, but yes, with added caution. There are risks in everything you do in life, even driving to the grocery store.
-I am not taking this lightly, it was scary, I definitely cried. I am a RN and deal with emergencies on a regular basis. But when I called the Horse Heaven clinic I could not speak for 10 long seconds and all I could think was “please don’t hang up…”. I just couldn’t get words out. Then tears came and words flowed out and with trembling voice I said “my dog was bit by a rattle snake…”…. They replied: “just get here…” So I did.
-Rose, thank you, you are the best (dog and human) friend I could ever have. Jett and I owe you ♥️
-Thank you so much for reading all this. It helps to share the story ♥️🐾”
Jun 12, 2019 at 9:58 pm #3597469
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Ian. Reason: bold/underline added
Dena KelleyBPL Member
@eagleriverdeeLocale: Eagle River, Alaska
That one even made me cry a little. I’m glad your dog is going to be ok!Jun 12, 2019 at 10:33 pm #3597475
I was a little choked up at the end as well.
Jett isn’t my dog though. One of our local vets who treated him posted this story and I thought it was worth passing on.
Our 15 month old Golden Retriever goes in for his annual booster shots next week. I’m going to pick my vets brain on this plus other hiking/backpacking related K9 first aid stuff to make sure I have my Doggo first aid kit dialed in.Jun 12, 2019 at 11:13 pm #3597487
I’m not crying. No, not at all.Jun 12, 2019 at 11:38 pm #3597492
It’s a particular problem I have absolutely no worries about (there is one species of garter snake that lives 1200 miles away), but I’ve done a lot to train our dog to come back to me when she encounters a bear, moose, porcupine or another hiking party. I don’t want to get to sanctimonious about it because she learns new commands wicked fast, but I’m glad I spent (that short) time to develop a standing rule with her.
I always travel with Benadryl (plus Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and Imodium) but I didn’t know Benadryl was indicated for rattlesnake bites in dogs. And in humans?Jun 13, 2019 at 1:17 am #3597528
Great story…..but…what does this have to do with “rattlesnake vaccine”?
A quick search brought this up, among others….Jun 13, 2019 at 2:01 am #3597543
Because it apparently helped this dog in this case
”Our dogs have all had rattle snake vaccine and the yearly boosters which DELAYS the effect of the venom, it buys more time…and”Jun 13, 2019 at 2:29 am #3597546
Local article on this eventJun 13, 2019 at 2:47 am #3597554
“I always travel with Benadryl (plus Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, and Imodium) but I didn’t know Benadryl was indicated for rattlesnake bites in dogs. And in humans?”
You and me both David. I also wondered the same for use on humans.
I didn’t even know that a rattlesnake vaccine existed a year ago and now my dog has been vaccinated. When I woke up this morning, I didn’t know Benadryl could help my dog if he was bitten by a rattlesnake and now I do. Suffice to say that I’m massively unqualified to speculate too much on this and will be conferring with my vet.
I wrote it in the OP but it bears repeating, I’m not suggesting that anyone should or shouldn’t vaccinate their pup against Rattlesnake bites. Talk to your vet and do your own due diligence.
For me, I use these stories as an opportunity to (hopefully) ask trained professionals who I trust the right questions.
I’m for one not going to expose my dogs to rattlesnake bites to see whether or not the vaccine works. Like human medicine, research evolves. What is gospel this year may be debunked as (ahem) snakeoil medicine the next.
Someone in David’s position doesn’t need to lose any sleep over this. We have a thriving rattlesnake population where I live and we see them on a regular basis, so it’s worth considering or at least talking to your vet about.
Vaya con puppy.
Jun 13, 2019 at 3:10 am #3597569
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Ian.
I posted a link to a news article a couple responses up. There’s a video in that article where they interview a vet from Idaho who doesn’t appear to be sold on the vaccine.
My position is still, dunno. This is all pretty far outside my wheelhouse.
To play devil’s advocate, the lady cited in my OP really doesn’t know if the vaccine did or didn’t help as she (hopefully) hasn’t had to do this twice with the same pup before and after a vaccination.Jun 13, 2019 at 4:54 pm #3597663
And even if your dog got bit twice, you might be left uncertain how much venom each bite conveyed. From the article, “Mowry reacted quickly when she noticed Jett’s cheek was swelling.”, so apparently some venom was injected.
We brought a local park worker into a backpacking first aid class who’d been bitten. He said his momentary thought as he was bitten was, “That was stupid of me.” (he’d reached into the rattlesnake’s cage) but that quickly supplanted by intense pain at the bite site and his take-home message was that if it was a rattlesnake AND it injected venom, you WILL know it.Jun 29, 2019 at 9:54 pm #3599929
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
Benadryl huh? Who’d-a thunk it? Now I’m getting some for my 1st aid kit.
But here in southern Nevada we have the “Mojave Green”, a dual venom rattlesnake that has both hemo-toxin and neuro-toxin venom! Plus they are aggressive! The worst of all worlds.
If you get nipped by one of those nasties you better have your rescue beacon with fully charged batteries.Jun 30, 2019 at 10:09 pm #3600089
Diane PinkersBPL Member
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
The other tactic worth thinking about is snake proof training for your dog. This uses classical conditioning to create an aversion to rattlesnakes in your dog, to lessen the chance that they will mess with a snake. There are specific programs that train the dog for you.Jul 1, 2019 at 12:37 am #3600107
“The other tactic worth thinking about is snake proof training for your dog.”
Exactly! The people I know here that take their dogs on trails have their dogs go through such training. Often it needs to be reinforced periodically – every couple of years.
They claim the training is very effective.
When I mentioned “rattlesnake vaccine” they were uniformly dismissive of it due to all the caveats around it’s effectiveness.Jul 1, 2019 at 12:50 am #3600110
Thanks Diane and Pedestrian.
Our pup got his booster shot a couple weeks ago but I’ll start looking for that training here in the PNW. Avoiding it altogether would be preferable.Jul 1, 2019 at 12:52 am #3600111
I’ve never met anyone who was envenomated but I’ve heard third/fourth person that it’s a slice of hell.Jul 1, 2019 at 12:53 am #3600112
I had no idea either. I hope to take our golden retriever out on his first multi day trip this fall, and I’ve some voids to fill in my canine first aid knowledge.Jul 1, 2019 at 1:56 am #3600117
Bret GBPL Member
As a veterinarian that has worked in an area that saw many rattle snake bites I felt I should weigh in on this.
1. Snake proof training is very good at preventing the bite in the first place.
2.The vaccine is only supposed to delay the effects of a snake bite.
3. The “best” place for a dog to be bit is on the face, then far out on extremities, then up legs, then the body, and the worst place is the tongue/eye. I have seen bites in all these places. Rattlesnake is not as potent in dogs as in humans and I have seen dogs survive without antivenom (they did not receive anti-venom unfortunately due to cost). The likely hood of them surviving follows the previous list of where they are bit.
4. Anti-venom is the best chance of them surviving and ideally done within 4 hours of the bite. The longer you wait the less effective the antivenom is but should still be given.
I hope this helps give some good information on snake bites and our pets.
Jul 1, 2019 at 8:13 pm #3600225
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Bret G.
Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: So. California
Bret, thanks for the added info! Would you be willing to add your opinion on the effectiveness of the vaccine?
It is interesting that the veterinarian world seems to be leading the human medicinal world on this topic. I would guess that is due to a larger number of bites and reduced liability for treatment. The best link I could find on benadryl for snake bites is over ten years old and recommends against it (or at least as not effective). I always carry benadryl because it is such an effective antihistamine and allergic reactions (mostly in others) is something I worry about in wilderness settings. It is grams of fear I consider worthwhile carrying.
Jul 1, 2019 at 8:18 pm #3600229
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Ben H..
I can’t thank you and Diane enough for sharing your thoughts. It’s nice to have a couple vets weigh inJul 1, 2019 at 8:33 pm #3600236
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Interesting thread, thanks, even though I’m dogless
I got half way to having a tear : )
I take benadryl for bee stings, now I’ll know it can work for rattlers
I tend not to go where there are rattlers. I encountered two in Trinity Alps – Deer Creek Trail about 5000 feet. They rattled at me and slithered off trail. I could have stepped on them and then got bit.
I assume benadryl only delays the effect of rattler? Then if I’m in the wilderness I’m just screwed? Even if I used the inreach to ask for help and told them I was bit by rattler, by the time I was rescued to a place that had anti-venom, I’d already be dead or crisis would be over?
I believe often rattle snake bites are not fatal without any treatmentJul 1, 2019 at 9:02 pm #3600243
Bret GBPL Member
The rattlesnake vaccine has varied opinions within the Veterinarian community. The vaccine only claims to slow down the venom and anti-venom is still needed to protect the pet, that leaves some people wondering why spend the money or risk of side effects if you still have to do same treatment. One risk of vaccine is that if it is given in fat it can cause the fat to die and make the pet sick. The most effective way IMO is to train the dog to stay away from the snake and know emergency hospitals that have anti venom. Another thing to consider is that pets can have an anaphylactic reaction to the anti-venom if they have had the treatment before. So it is better to avoid the bite in the first place.
if your dog gets bit, you can give Benadryl but that is not necessarily going to buy you time. It may marginally help with swelling and discomfort. I know that steroids are listed as ineffective but I would still give them to patients that were not getting anti-venom. Antibiotics are definitely appropriate to keep out secondary infections from the bite wound. Intravenous fluids are also beneficial and mandatory when giving the anti venom.
I hope this helps in your decisions in keeping your pets safe.Jul 2, 2019 at 5:51 am #3600307
“The other tactic worth thinking about is snake proof training for your dog.”
I’m so glad I did this 4 years ago with our dog. Not for snakes (in Alaska!), but moose. She quietly returns to me when she senses a moose up ahead, which is often before I do. The last two times it happened, only after she sat down in front of me did I look up from my phone to see the moose heading into the woods. She always gets big praise and treats then that happens.
Hopefully the young bull near where we usually walk will get more used to us since we’re always so well behaved. Our “house moose” that likes to use our little 14,000-gallon goldfish pond is pretty non-plussed by us. We had a party yesterday and had 6 guests plus us on the deck and the moose keep wading around in the pond and later slowly moved through the forest eating fireweed leaves.
Pro-tip: ears up and you’re fine. Ears back and they’re nervous / anxious / possibly going to charge you.Jul 3, 2019 at 11:30 pm #3600537
I will post this in a couple of places….just came home to find a foot long baby rattler in front of the front door, actually wedged under the sill. We have a deck that is only a few inches off the ground and my concern is that if there’s one there are 8 to 10 and is there anything to do, besides vaccinate Libby’s dog? Ugh. Any advice is welcome here.
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