Vaccine for rattlesnakes could help rural dogs - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Vaccine for rattlesnakes could help rural dogs

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You've heard of vaccines for rabies and parvo, but rattlesnakes? It's a small dose that veterinarians say won't rattle your wallet.

"It was like, right here" said Kiki Teague, who carefully examined her miniature schnauzer's nose.

"He looked down in the grass and all of a sudden he barked and jumped about a foot in the air and screamed," says Teague. She adds that there's no scarring, only memories.

Teague explains that it was almost a year ago when Gimli was out doing his thing when a copperhead snake sniffed him out.

"Within about 30 seconds his head was swelling, he was having trouble breathing and his head was shaking," says Teague.

Gimli has since recovered from the snake bite and Teague has since learned of a rattlesnake vaccine. It's a small vial, usually carrying a single dose and recommended for hunting dogs or pets who live out in rural areas.

Dr. Rob Hance with Sunset Animal Clinic says the shot is crucial during the spring season because that's when snakes are no longer hibernating.

"The goal of this vaccine is to decrease the side effect of the bite. It's still an emergency," said Dr. Hance, who also admits that not many pet owners are aware of this particular vaccine. It's not made for cats or even house dogs and since the medication is very similar to the flu shot, an animal could have a bad reaction.

Teague says Gimli would not have benefited from the vaccine since he was bit by a copperhead, however, "It was $650 for him to be okay," she says. That's way more than the 50 bucks it will cost for the vaccine that's only administered by a veterinarian.

But like Teague says, worth every penny if it keeps her animals safe since research shows dogs and cats are 300 times more likely to be bit by a venomous snake than get rabies.

"It would definitely be a good option rather than taking him to the vet and having all this done and rattlesnakes. It's bad news," says Teague.

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