Caring for your dogs during rattlesnake season in San Diego
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Rattlesnake season has begun in San Diego and therefore it’s time to consider pet safety when it comes to outdoor activities.
Dr. Angela Gaeto with Helen Woodward Animal Center stopped by Good Morning San Diego to give some advice to dog owners.
Rattlesnakes can pose a threat to both human and pet populations in San Diego. There are many things that help with the prevention of rattlesnake bites but one of the best preventative steps we can take for our pets is to get the rattlesnake vaccine. The vaccine is made up of deactivated venom that can no longer cause negative effects but will allow the immune system to recognize the venom if it ever comes into contact with it again. The immune system will form antibodies that bind up venom so it cannot cause harmful effects. It will not prevent the pet from needing veterinary care but it will give you more time to safely get your pet to a veterinary hospital and it will decrease the negative effects of the venom. The venom in the vaccine is against Western Diamondback Rattlesnakes but will also protect against snakes with similar venom. The initial vaccine requires a two vaccine series and then annual vaccination after that.
Rattlesnake safety and prevention:
Even with the availability of the rattlesnake vaccine, preventing rattlesnake bites is key to keeping your pet safe. Rattlesnake season is considered March through October and pet owners should be vigilant during this time. In order to prevent rattlesnakes from coming into your yard, areas should be made less friendly to the snakes. This includes removing areas where they may nest such as wood or debris piles and removing rodents that they might eat from your property. It’s also important to keep your pet nearby while hiking or walking through brush and canyon landscape.
Snake species vaccine protects against:
• Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
• Prairie, Great Basin, Northern, Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes
• Sidewinder Rattlesnake
• Timber Rattlesnake
• Massasauga Rattlesnake
• Copperhead Rattlesnake