Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs

Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes that can be found throughout North America but can live in most climates. Rattlesnakes are predominately found in the southwest United States.

These snakes are known as pit vipers due to the sensory organ between their eye and the nostril – a small indentation or pit. They live in dens in the ground, crevices, in rocks, etc. Rattlesnakes hibernate during the fall and winter. Although they are not normally active at night, they may be more active at night in hot weather.

Many dogs die each year from rattlesnake bites and many more are permanently injured from these bites. Rattlesnake venom is hemotoxic meaning it affects the victim's blood vessels. It will cause pain, tissue damage and internal bleeding. Some venom is neurotoxic which means it will attack the nervous system and cause paralysis.

In 2004, a vaccine was developed by Red Rock Biologics which helps the dog develop antibodies against the rattlesnake venom when bitten but doesn't completely alleviate the effects of the bite. This vaccine protects against the Western Diamondback by reducing the pain, and tissue damage, allows the owner more time to get to their veterinarian for treatment and can reduce the amount of antivenin and treatment needed.

There is some cross-protection from this vaccine for the following:
  • Western Rattlesnake
  • Sidewinder
  • Timber Rattlesnake
  • Massasauga Rattlesnake
  • Copperhead
  • Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Rattlesnake Bite Treatment For Dogs
  • Hospitalization
  • Administration of antivenin
  • Antibiotics
  • IV Fluids
  • Pain Medication
Guidelines for the Rattlesnake Vaccine
  • 1st dose – no sooner than 4 months of age
  • Booster in one month
  • Very large/very small dogs – third booster
  • If in an active rattlesnake area, recommend booster every 4-6 months. Otherwise – single vaccine one month before the start of the “rattlesnake season”, ie early spring.
  • Vaccine should be given if you anticipate exposure to a rattlesnake area with your dog.
The vaccine has been licensed for dogs in the United States and has shown minimal side effects per Red Rock Biologics. The vaccine should only be given to healthy dogs and at your veterinarian's discretion.