Animal Clinic of Woodruff is now carrying the Crotalus Atrox Toxoid (or rattlesnake vaccine for dogs) from Red Rock Biologics. Read below to see if you should consider getting this potentially life-saving vaccine for your dog.
What is a rattlesnake vaccine?
The Cortalus Atrox Toxoid, or “rattlesnake vaccine,” provides dogs with protection against and reduces the symptoms associated with rattlesnake bites. Importantly, though, it does not mean veterinary care is not required. Rattlesnake bites are extremely serious, and dogs can easily die from them, so you should always see a veterinarian immediately if your dog gets or you suspect a venomous snake bit. The vaccine works by helping to defend dogs against some of the dangerous effects of a rattlesnake bite, meaning it gives you more time and better odds of your dog fully recovering.
Does my dog need the rattlesnake vaccine?
We call Cortalus Atrox Toxoid a “lifestyle vaccine” because not every dog needs it, only those with certain lifestyles, access and temperaments. Outdoor, sporting breeds who wander far off trails would be good candidates. Also, we recommend the vaccine to any dogs that travel to areas with known rattlesnake populations (read more on this below).
The vaccine provides protection against bites from all rattlesnake species, with the exception of the Eastern Diamondback. It also provides cross protection against copperhead bites, which may make more people interested in this vaccine, as copperheads are way more common for dog bites in Upstate South Carolina.
Unfortunately, the vaccine offers no protection against Coral, Cottonmouth or Eastern Diamondback bites (but luckily none of these are found in Upstate S.C.).
Where is my dog most at risk for snake bites?
The Eastern Diamondback, Timber and Pigmy rattlesnakes are all found in South Carolina. The Timber and Pigmy’s habitat extends across the entire state, while the Eastern Diamondback is confined to the Lowcountry (at least for now). Find more information about the location of South Carolina’s venomous snakes at this DNR page.
I want to protect my dog from snake bites. What do I do now?
The best way to protect your dog is to make an appointment at Animal Clinic of Woodruff to see a doctor and ensure your dog is a good candidate for the vaccine. You should also always make smart choices about going outdoors with your dog, such as staying on trails; not letting your dog explore holes, cervices, or areas where snakes tend to be; and carrying the phone number of a vet and an emergency vet with you at all times.