Venomous Snake Bites and Pets

By: Martha Spencer
By: Martha Spencer

An anti-venom vaccine is available for man's best friend, which could save their life, and your wallet.

Nicole Holloway loves her dogs dearly. After nearly losing one to a rattlesnake bite, she has all three of her dogs vaccinated to prevent against any future bites.

"We had a dachshund that was bit by a pygmy rattlesnake. So, I didn't want it to happen to them because she was touch and go for a while," said Holloway.

Previous treatment for dogs bitten by venomous snakes can cost upwards of $500 dollars just for the antivenin, but the new vaccine is much cheaper.

"The vaccine administered is $27.50, a lot different than antivenin. They'll get an injection, a booster in three, four weeks; after that an injection every six months," says Dr. Kirk Holland.

The vaccine was originally created for snakes native to the southwest, but many of those snakes also live in Wiregrass.

Dr. Holland said, "In our area, the eastern diamondback, it has partial coverage for that. The copperhead, the other snake in our area, the water moccasin, it does not have coverage. We've been in contact with another company and they are planning on developing other vaccines that are more specific for different areas in the country."

The vaccine works on all dogs, but large dogs may require extra boosters.

"Dogs that hunt regularly, people who take their dogs camping or hiking or if they have an outside dog that boarders a wooded area, that they've seen snakes," adds Dr. Holland.

Snakes enjoy heat and can often be found in your own back yard.

Dothan resident and pet owner, Ann Cotton, says "In the instance of the rattlesnake, we have killed a rattlesnake because I do have dogs; mine tend to want to go sniff."

While not all snakes are venomous, your safest bet is to avoid them all. You can find the vaccine at most local vet clinics.


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