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What should I do if my dog is bitten by a rattlesnake?

A rattlesnake bite should always be considered a veterinary emergency. Find more information about rattlesnake bites in dogs and cautionary measures you can take to help protect your pooch in this post. 

Rattlesnake Bites & Dogs

Rattlesnakes can be found in a wide range of habitats and climates, from wetlands to forests and deserts; from sea level to mountain regions and cliffs. These venomous snakes are most active in warmer seasons and are often seen year-round in southern latitudes.

Because rattlesnakes are comfortable in so many habitats, there is a good chance that you could come across one in places that your pooch loves to roam. Keeping your dog away from rattlesnakes is essential, since rattlesnake bites are a veterinary emergency that can lead to serious injury and even death for thousands of dogs annually.

Rattlesnake Bites Are Serious Veterinary Emergencies

The venom released from these snakes contains a mixture of toxins that can quickly spread through your pup's body once a bite occurs. These toxins can cause serious symptoms, severe pain, or death for an unprotected dog. Even if your dog survives the immediate effects of a bite, the venom can lead to permanent damage.

Keeping Your Dog Away From Rattlesnakes

Any time your dog treads into rattlesnake habitat, they are at risk of being bitten, particularly because dogs often become curious or protective. Whether you and your dog live near rattlesnakes, venture into the woods while hiking or camping, or travel through rattlesnake turf, caution should always be taken and your dog should be kept on a leash.

Of course, even on a leash your pup could stumble upon a snake by accident. That's why our Tucson vets believe it's important to have your dog vaccinated if you live in or visit areas where rattlesnakes live.

The Benefits of the Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs

Vaccines work by stimulating an animal’s immune system to defend the body against potentially harmful agents. The rattlesnake vaccine can help your dog’s body develop immunity to protect your pooch against the effects of rattlesnake venom.

This vaccination can help to reduce the impact of a rattlesnake’s bite if your dog does happen to get bitten and reduce or eliminate the need for anti-venom.

Having your dog vaccinated if you live in - or visit - an area where rattlesnakes are common could help to significantly decrease the cost of treatment if your dog gets bit by a snake.

Rattlesnake Bite Treatment for Dogs

Even if your dog has been vaccinated against rattlesnake venom, they should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible after being bitten. Your vet can determine whether your dog will need additional treatment.

Treatment for rattlesnake bites in dogs may include anti-venom injections, which can be expensive. These injections are also associated with an increased risk of adverse reactions that can lead to complications during your pup's recovery.

Other costs of treatment for rattlesnake bites may include intravenous fluids, medicines, surgery and/or hospitalization. A veterinarian is the best person to consult when making medical decisions for your dog.

Non-Venomous Snake Bites in Dogs

Even bites from non-venomous snakes can pose a serious health risk for dogs. These puncture wounds are prone to serious infections and your dog may require antibiotic treatment. 

When it comes to snake bites in dogs it's always best to see your vet right away for veterinary care. Your canine companion will thank you.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is bitten by a snake, contact us right away to arrange emergency care. Our team of veterinarians is here to help 7 days a week. 

What should I do if my dog is bitten by a rattlesnake?

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