Snake avoidance.....

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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:21 pm

We have very few diamondbacks, a lot of canebrake and pigmy rattlers, cotton mouth, copperhead.
I am going to try and remember to call my Vet tomorrow. Thank you all Forrest
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby flitecontrol » Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:43 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Yes I was in elk camp when a GSP puppy got bit just that way. High on her shoulder while running through cover. She had been vaccinated, got pretty sick but came through ok.

But there is also a percentage of bites to the head when the dog is curious and goes in ...


My father-in-law's setter was bitten on the head. Didn't see it happen, but given the environment, was either a canebrake rattlesnake or copperhead. Head swelled up quite a bit, but no long term problems. Without studies, I'm dubious about the effectiveness of snake "vaccines".

My first shorthair gave pit vipers a wide berth, but killed other types of snakes. AFAIK, that was instinctive since he never showed signs of being bitten.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:31 am

I just talked with my vet and he was not aware of a snake vaccine, he wanted to know the name of the vaccine so he could research it. He does carry the anti venom.
So does anyone have the name of this snake vaccine ? Thank You Forrest
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:50 am

Red Rock Biologics
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:39 am

Before you jump on the vaccine bandwagon, read this: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/are-ra ... effective/

Note that the vaccine is very species specific. Not only does it not work at all for copperheads and cottonmouths, it doesn't protect well if the dog is bitten by any rattlesnake other than a western diamondback. There are many spiecies of rattlesnakes.

And this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26341419 Here is an important highlight from this study: In view of the results of this study, in dogs with rattlesnake envenomation, there is no evidence that use of glucocorticoids, diphenhydramine, prophylactic antibiotics, or vaccination lessen morbidity or mortality.

A map of the western diamondback's range can be seen here. It isn't as widespread as you might think: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_d ... attlesnake

Beware venomous snakes, and those selling snake oil.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 12:31 pm

Forrest I suggest you go to Red Rock Biologics and read what they say about the product. It reads very responsible to my eye. It has never been put forward that it produces absolute immunity nor that it eliminates the need to get the dog to a vet when bitten to determine next best course of action.
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:47 pm

AG Thank You , I will research it.
What we have done in the past with snake bites, for a 60 to 70 LB dog , 60 MG of prednisone, 75 MG Benadryl ,and antibiotics , I think it was for 6 Days, helps with swelling.
A quick little story, back in the 80's was bird hunting down a cannel bank, herd my DD's bayed, started over to them and the male Axel was coming to me with a live copperhead (he had him right in the middle ) not a good sight . Forrest
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:15 pm

AverageGuy wrote:Forrest I suggest you go to Red Rock Biologics and read what they say about the product. It reads very responsible to my eye. It has never been put forward that it produces absolute immunity nor that it eliminates the need to get the dog to a vet when bitten to determine next best course of action.


Here's their site: http://www.redrockbiologics.com/rattles ... r_dogs.php

I read their spiel, and it looks like smoke and mirrors to me. Here's why: They never mention the vaccine, whatever level of protection it may provide (and they never come out and say it provides any), primarily targets the western diamondback species. They lump all rattlesnake species together when trumpeting the benefits of their vaccine, and the previously cited study reveals vaccinated dogs primarily produce antibodies specific to western diamondback venom. So there is absolutely no benefit if the dog is bitten by a cottonmouth or copperhead, and no reason to even think it would help with other rattlesnake species. As the other referenced study shows, there is no difference in the outcome between dogs that have and have not been given the vaccine. As the vaccine maker acknowledges, vaccinated dogs that are bitten still require the same veterinary care that an unvaccinated dog needs. And the outcome will be the same regardless of whether or not the dog is vaccinated. So what's the advantage of using their product?

Your dog, your money, you decide. It still looks like snake oil to me.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby AverageGuy » Tue Aug 28, 2018 6:11 pm

flitecontrol wrote: As the vaccine maker acknowledges, vaccinated dogs that are bitten still require the same veterinary care that an unvaccinated dog needs. And the outcome will be the same regardless of whether or not the dog is vaccinated. So what's the advantage of using their product?


Your opinion was clear in your first post. Now you are mis-stating the Vaccine company's assertions.

They say the dog should be examined by a Vet. Which is not at all the same as their treatment will be the same as a dog which did not receive the Vaccine, (as you posted above). The Vaccine Company says the dog is likely to have some built up immunity to the venom. Which to the extent it is true is the answer to your question.

You are also incorrect as to the Copperhead. The Vaccine company has represented it likely does provide some benefit for Copperheads. But none for Cottonmouths or Coral Snakes.

The GSP pup which had been vaccinated and subsequently bitten (I was an eye witness to), swelled up and was significantly ill, but did not require any anti-venom and recovered fully. The Vet who treated her was of the opinion the Vaccine likely lessened her symptoms. Which is still not proof positive of the Vaccine's effectiveness. For $20 bucks I will continue to use it.
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby flitecontrol » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:36 pm

AverageGuy wrote:
flitecontrol wrote: As the vaccine maker acknowledges, vaccinated dogs that are bitten still require the same veterinary care that an unvaccinated dog needs. And the outcome will be the same regardless of whether or not the dog is vaccinated. So what's the advantage of using their product?


Your opinion was clear in your first post. Now you are mis-stating the Vaccine company's assertions.

They say the dog should be examined by a Vet. Which is not at all the same as their treatment will be the same as a dog which did not receive the Vaccine, (as you posted above). The Vaccine Company says the dog is likely to have some built up immunity to the venom. Which to the extent it is true is the answer to your question.

Think we have a misundersdtanding of what was posted. A dog that receives a relatively small amount of venom is probably going to do well whether or not it is vaccinated. A vaccinated dog that receives a large dose of venom, especially if it is after antibody formation begins to wane, is going to need serious treatment, just as an unvaccinated dog would. There are too many unknowns, as explained below, to make blanket statements about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The vaccine site begins by acknowledging that the vaccine is for Crotalus atrox, which is the scientific name for the Western Diamondback rattlesnake. They never use the snake's common name, and only mention the scientific name once. From there, they go on to talk about rattlesnakes in general:
" The Rattlesnake Vaccine is intended to help create an immunity that will protect your dog against rattlesnake venom." After reading their selectively worded information, many readers would conclude their vaccine is equally effective against bites from other species of rattlesnakes. Here's what the first study I referenced has to say about that: "There are about 40 different species of rattlesnake species and the vaccine only produces neutralizing antibodies to one of them for sure. It might have some effect on other venoms, but we really don’t have any idea. As of right now, we have no idea, meaning we have no idea how long a dog might actually benefit from this vaccine, and when to give boosters. We often don’t know how much venom is injected, and we don’t know how many antibodies are produced, so if our math is off by even a little bit, the antibodies can be overwhelmed. Is there any evidence for this vaccine? A pretty recent study looked at how well this vaccine worked in mice when tested against a lethal dose of rattlesnake vaccine. The researchers injected mice with a lethal dose of venom from three species of rattlesnake after they had been vaccinated. Most of them died. ... The good news is that some of the ones who got the vaccine actually lived, and the vaccinated mice lived significantly longer than unvaccinated mice. There are some “buts”, however, and these are pretty big “buts”. First of all, the vaccine did not work great for all three types of rattlesnakes tested. It worked a little bit for Western diamondback, maybe kinda a tiny bit for Northern Pacific rattlesnake, and not at all for South Pacific rattlesnake venom. So cross-protection was poor.

The other big consideration with this study is that the exposure was controlled. Although they used a whopping dose, they did it at a time when they expected peak antibody levels in the mice’s bloodstream. Who knows how long the antibodies are hanging around at beneficial levels? Nobody. And they even found that some of the vaccinated mice produced very little antibody, so there would presumably be some “non-responders”, just like with any vaccine. This study shows the challenge in extrapolating data in the lab to predictions in the field.

There is actually a pretty recent paper reviewing a few hundred cases of dogs who had been bitten by rattlesnakes and what factors were important in their outcomes. This is a very small sample (but not bad for a veterinary study). However, there were a number of rattlesnake-vaccinated dogs in the cases. The researchers found “…no measurable benefit could be identified associated with rattlesnake vaccination”. It’s possible that with a much larger sample size a benefit could be found, but with so many unanswered questions about duration of immunity and what levels are required for neutralization, I think the burden of evidence still rests on the vaccine manufacturer.

Could it work? It’s somewhat plausible. I would not trust it to save my dog’s life. I don’t currently recommend it. The only way I would consider using this product would be if rattlesnake avoidance was completely not possible, and even then, I would make sure the owner knows that if their dog is bitten, they need to not expect the vaccine be helpful and get them a veterinarian with antivenom right away. To be fair, the manufacturer says as much in their brochure. They also responded to my phone call about duration of immunity by saying there are ongoing studies. I’m curious to see what is found and what is published. The vaccine does appear safe, but so is homeopathy (hmm, let me rethink that). So if the small but possible chance of benefit is worth the cost to the owner, it might make sense. "
The above was written by a veterinarian. In short, there is no scientific proof that the vaccine is effective against other species of rattlesnakes as the vaccine manufacturer leads readers to believe, and the manufacturer, while leading readers to think that it does, actually makes no such claims.


You are also incorrect as to the Copperhead. The Vaccine company has represented it likely does provide some benefit for Copperheads. But none for Cottonmouths or Coral Snakes.

I didn't read any mention of other species of venomous snakes on the vaccine site I found (http://www.redrockbiologics.com/rattles ... r_dogs.php). Possibly that information is somewhere on their site, but I didn't find it. If you find it, please correct me.

The GSP pup which had been vaccinated and subsequently bitten (I was an eye witness to), swelled up and was significantly ill, but did not require any anti-venom and recovered fully. The Vet who treated her was of the opinion the Vaccine likely lessened her symptoms. Which is still not proof positive of the Vaccine's effectiveness. For $20 bucks I will continue to use it.


My limited experience with dogs bitten by venomous snakes is the setter previously mentioned that was struck on the face, swelled up, got zero veterinary care, and survived. Venomous snake bites are like newborns, you never know what you'll get, and each one is different.

Twenty bucks is cheap indeed if it provides peace of mind.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby JONOV » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:09 am

flitecontrol wrote:
AverageGuy wrote:
flitecontrol wrote: As the vaccine maker acknowledges, vaccinated dogs that are bitten still require the same veterinary care that an unvaccinated dog needs. And the outcome will be the same regardless of whether or not the dog is vaccinated. So what's the advantage of using their product?


Your opinion was clear in your first post. Now you are mis-stating the Vaccine company's assertions.

They say the dog should be examined by a Vet. Which is not at all the same as their treatment will be the same as a dog which did not receive the Vaccine, (as you posted above). The Vaccine Company says the dog is likely to have some built up immunity to the venom. Which to the extent it is true is the answer to your question.

Think we have a misundersdtanding of what was posted. A dog that receives a relatively small amount of venom is probably going to do well whether or not it is vaccinated. A vaccinated dog that receives a large dose of venom, especially if it is after antibody formation begins to wane, is going to need serious treatment, just as an unvaccinated dog would. There are too many unknowns, as explained below, to make blanket statements about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

The vaccine site begins by acknowledging that the vaccine is for Crotalus atrox, which is the scientific name for the Western Diamondback rattlesnake. They never use the snake's common name, and only mention the scientific name once. From there, they go on to talk about rattlesnakes in general:
" The Rattlesnake Vaccine is intended to help create an immunity that will protect your dog against rattlesnake venom." After reading their selectively worded information, many readers would conclude their vaccine is equally effective against bites from other species of rattlesnakes. Here's what the first study I referenced has to say about that: "There are about 40 different species of rattlesnake species and the vaccine only produces neutralizing antibodies to one of them for sure. It might have some effect on other venoms, but we really don’t have any idea. As of right now, we have no idea, meaning we have no idea how long a dog might actually benefit from this vaccine, and when to give boosters. We often don’t know how much venom is injected, and we don’t know how many antibodies are produced, so if our math is off by even a little bit, the antibodies can be overwhelmed. Is there any evidence for this vaccine? A pretty recent study looked at how well this vaccine worked in mice when tested against a lethal dose of rattlesnake vaccine. The researchers injected mice with a lethal dose of venom from three species of rattlesnake after they had been vaccinated. Most of them died. ... The good news is that some of the ones who got the vaccine actually lived, and the vaccinated mice lived significantly longer than unvaccinated mice. There are some “buts”, however, and these are pretty big “buts”. First of all, the vaccine did not work great for all three types of rattlesnakes tested. It worked a little bit for Western diamondback, maybe kinda a tiny bit for Northern Pacific rattlesnake, and not at all for South Pacific rattlesnake venom. So cross-protection was poor.

The other big consideration with this study is that the exposure was controlled. Although they used a whopping dose, they did it at a time when they expected peak antibody levels in the mice’s bloodstream. Who knows how long the antibodies are hanging around at beneficial levels? Nobody. And they even found that some of the vaccinated mice produced very little antibody, so there would presumably be some “non-responders”, just like with any vaccine. This study shows the challenge in extrapolating data in the lab to predictions in the field.

There is actually a pretty recent paper reviewing a few hundred cases of dogs who had been bitten by rattlesnakes and what factors were important in their outcomes. This is a very small sample (but not bad for a veterinary study). However, there were a number of rattlesnake-vaccinated dogs in the cases. The researchers found “…no measurable benefit could be identified associated with rattlesnake vaccination”. It’s possible that with a much larger sample size a benefit could be found, but with so many unanswered questions about duration of immunity and what levels are required for neutralization, I think the burden of evidence still rests on the vaccine manufacturer.

Could it work? It’s somewhat plausible. I would not trust it to save my dog’s life. I don’t currently recommend it. The only way I would consider using this product would be if rattlesnake avoidance was completely not possible, and even then, I would make sure the owner knows that if their dog is bitten, they need to not expect the vaccine be helpful and get them a veterinarian with antivenom right away. To be fair, the manufacturer says as much in their brochure. They also responded to my phone call about duration of immunity by saying there are ongoing studies. I’m curious to see what is found and what is published. The vaccine does appear safe, but so is homeopathy (hmm, let me rethink that). So if the small but possible chance of benefit is worth the cost to the owner, it might make sense. "
The above was written by a veterinarian. In short, there is no scientific proof that the vaccine is effective against other species of rattlesnakes as the vaccine manufacturer leads readers to believe, and the manufacturer, while leading readers to think that it does, actually makes no such claims.


You are also incorrect as to the Copperhead. The Vaccine company has represented it likely does provide some benefit for Copperheads. But none for Cottonmouths or Coral Snakes.

I didn't read any mention of other species of venomous snakes on the vaccine site I found (http://www.redrockbiologics.com/rattles ... r_dogs.php). Possibly that information is somewhere on their site, but I didn't find it. If you find it, please correct me.

The GSP pup which had been vaccinated and subsequently bitten (I was an eye witness to), swelled up and was significantly ill, but did not require any anti-venom and recovered fully. The Vet who treated her was of the opinion the Vaccine likely lessened her symptoms. Which is still not proof positive of the Vaccine's effectiveness. For $20 bucks I will continue to use it.


My limited experience with dogs bitten by venomous snakes is the setter previously mentioned that was struck on the face, swelled up, got zero veterinary care, and survived. Venomous snake bites are like newborns, you never know what you'll get, and each one is different.

Twenty bucks is cheap indeed if it provides peace of mind.

If I lived out west, I'd absolutely get the rattlesnake vaccine.

Honestly, if I lived in the Eastern part of my state, I'd get it too. But, i tend to hunt in the snakey parts when its a bit colder and the risk is much less. Same with alligators.

Copperheads are the most common venomous snake around here. Certainly I don't want my dog bitten by one but neither do I lose sleep over it. I'm way more nervous about it than having my dog get bit. I only know of one dog that had a really expensive vet visit, and that was a result of the swelling splitting the skin and creating a big wound. The rest involved benadryl/antibiotics/steroids (sometimes.) They seem to metabolize Copperhead bites more like we do a bee sting.

Cottonmouths/Water Moccasins and rattlesnakes are a different story. As I understand it, and my knowledge is rudimentary, you have a pretty short window to get the dog help. If you're a mile from the truck, you might be in a tough spot.
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby Willie T » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:06 am

Drathaar1108, where are you located? If you have Canebreaks and gators you may be close to me. If so I will forward you the vet location that vaccinated my dog. Cost me $21.
With my Pudelpointer I view the $21 as an inexpensive hedge till I can get him to a vet, not a bullet proof vest.
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby ryanr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:20 pm

Eh, nevermind.
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby flitecontrol » Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:42 am

If I lived or hunted within the Western diamondback's range (extreme SE California, Southern Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, West Central Arkansas, and Mexico), I'd have my dog vaccinated. But I don't.

What surprised me is how specific the vaccine is. Until researching this issue, I assumed all species of rattlesnake venom was essentially the same, so the vaccine would work for all of them. Unfortunately, this isn't true. As the manufacturer states, it targets only one species of rattlesnake, and, as revealed in the above studies, provides limited or no protection from other species of rattlesnakes. It apparently doesn't provide any immunity from cottonmouth or copperhead bites.

With venom so apparently species specific, it may be difficult to develop a vaccine that provides immunity for all rattlesnakes. In the future, vaccine manufacturers may be able to find a common denominator in all pit viper venom and develop something that would work for all of them. That is definitely something I would use.
I've had several really good dogs, but none were perfect. Neither am I, so keep that in mind!
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Re: Snake avoidance.....

Postby Drahthaar1108 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:27 pm

Willie T, sorry for the late reply haven't been around a computer for a couple weeks.
I live in Eastern N.C. Hyde county , Lake Mattamuskeet . Thank You Forrest
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