Ssssssssnakes!

I’ve done very little research on this topic, so I’m just throwing this out for discussion. It would have never even crossed my mind so thank goodness for fellow dog owners. I do take Kora off-leash a lot and I understand from my cop friend that in high season, they get a lot of calls about dogs being bitten by rattlesnakes. Given that Kora likes to wander off the trails and stick her nose into everything, I fear that she may be more likely than other dogs to encounter a snake.

My friends, Vinny and Tracy, get a vaccine for their dog to help against a snake bite. My friend Bev suggested a Rattlesnake Aversion Training. This training uses a low-level electronic correction collar when the dog comes in contact with the scent and sound of a rattlesnake. One friend was concerned with the shock element since her dog is sensitive. I have never used shock training for Kora. A friend even gave us an electric fence to keep her from jumping over our 6 foot fence, but we decided against it. However, I do feel like the threat of rattlesnakes may justify the shock training.

When I asked the instructor what he knew about the vaccine, he said:

“I’m told the vaccine is about $20, and is about 30% effective at buying the dog some time to get to the vets office, and it also usually requires less anti-venom for the dog. Less anti-venom=less $$. Of course the smaller the dog, the higher the risk of serious injury. Usually what happens is the dog gets curious, walks up to the snake, smells it and gets bit in the face. This leads to a swollen airway, and they can suffocate. If they are bitten anywhere other than the face, most of the time they will live through it. Of course they will have swelling and possibly necrosis (dead tissue) around the bite area, but unless the venom is injected directed into a vein or artery, which is extremely unlikely, the dog should do fine.”

Have you had any experience with snake training, vaccines, or bites? Chime in and let us know.

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2 Responses to Ssssssssnakes!

  1. I’ve never thought much about this before, but we do have rattlesnakes in our area. It’s something that makes me nervous, so I don’t walk my dogs in some of the places where they are more prevalent. I didn’t realize there was training for it, or a vaccine. I’m not sure I’d get them the vaccine. It doesn’t sound all that effective, and with Chloe’s allergies I only get the bare minimum for her.

    • Michelle, I agree about the vaccine. As I have done more research, I have decided not to give Kora the snake vaccine, but I will be taking her to the rattlesnake aversion training at the end of March. That seems worth it to me. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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