Rattlesnake vaccinations for dogs

Now that weather is improving, you and your dog might want to get out and explore the great outdoors. So in this latest edition of “Into the Hills” Samantha Chadwell takes a gets some information about something you should consider getting your four-legged friend that will help keep them safe if you come across a rattlesnake.


RAPID CITY, S.D. – You and your dog aren’t the only ones exploring the best that mother nature has to offer this time of year. 

“Prairie rattlesnakes are found on the prairie, hence the name, but they’re also found in the Black Hills. There’s rumors going around that if you get above a certain elevation, you won’t run into prairie rattlesnakes. That may be true but I don’t know that we have elevations that high in the Black Hills. They’re pretty much everywhere. They can be everywhere. And I would really recommend talking to your veterinarian about how to protect your pet,” according to Keith Wintersteen with Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City.

So I went to talk to local veterinarian, Dr. Danielle Evenson with Cook Veterinary Clinic in Rapid City. “Prairie Rattlesnake bites can cause significant swelling, pain, inflammation and just depending on where they get bit, that can determine how bad it’s gonna be. So the rattlesnake vaccine is supposed to help to decrease the inflammation which hopefully gives you more time to get to the vet office, get them treated. Hopefully hospitalized for less amount of time and needing shorter amount of treatment. So in all, it just kind of helps you to have a little bit better outcome from a rattlesnake bite,” said Dr. Evenson.

If you’re wondering about the price, be sure to ask your vet. “If they’ve never had a vaccine and they have a particularly bad bite, there is anti-venom available for dogs at some clinics and that is pretty pricey depending on how many vials of anti-venom they may need. And most dogs that receive the vaccine, as long as it’s a mild bite, they can be treated on an outpatient basis. Possibly hospitalized for the night but the anti-venom is not always necessary,” said Dr. Evenson.

Initially, your dog will need one vaccination, followed by a booster shot the next month. Since the vaccine only lasts for about 6 months, Dr. Evenson says they re-vaccinate dogs every Spring right at the beginning of rattlesnake season. She says this is really the only defense that we have against rattlesnakes, so she highly recommends getting your dog vaccinated each year.





Categories: Into The Hills, South Dakota News