Rattlesnake Vaccine


Rattlesnakes may be found throughout California’s natural environment, wherever dogs live, work and play.  In a summer that is witnessing an epidemic of rattlesnake encounters throughout California,scientists at Red Rock Biologics have invented a vaccine, which provides protection for dogs against rattlesnake venom.

Although the vaccine is available for use in any dog, Jim Wallis, President of Red Rock Biologics, notes it is especially useful for dogs that are taken hiking or camping.  “Dogs are often bitten by rattlesnakes when they are some distance from the nearest veterinary care,” he said.  “Sometimes a dog owner may not even be immediately aware their dog has been bitten.”

According to Wallis, the vaccine represents a significant advantage over the existing use of antivenom to treat dogs for snakebite injury.  The vaccine generates a protective immunity to help prevent venom intoxication.  “Antibodies working against the venom are already present in vaccinated dogs.” he said.  “Dogs that are not vaccinated have to wait until they get toa veterinary clinic.”

When dogs do get antivenom it comes with a steep bill and a higher risk of side effects.  A single vial can cost $943, and one to several vials may be needed to treat a bitten dog.  Side effects may include potentially life threatening allergic reactions.  The vaccine circumvents these disadvantages by reducing or eliminating the requirement for antivenom in vaccinated dogs.

Vaccines against the rattlesnake bite are technically challenging because snake venom has as many as fifteen to twenty distinct toxic components. The Red Rock vaccine, which is available here at Middletown Animal Hospital, is believed to be the first vaccine commercially available for protection against snakebite.

For additional information,Please Contact Middletown Animal Hospital. 987-2000


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