Rattlesnake Vaccine Opinions - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
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Rattlesnake Vaccine Opinions

We are coming up on rattlesnake season in California, so I'm considering getting my horses the rattlesnake vaccine when the vet visits next month.

We have given our dogs this vaccine for a couple of years. A near by neighbor's dog was bit last year and they feel the vaccine saved their dogs life by making the bite less severe.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with this type of vaccination for horses?

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post #2 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 11:46 AM
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Is it available for horses? I don't live in heavy Rattlesnake country any more so I don't know. I've never used it, my vet's opinion at the time was that it might help but that there were questions about the efficacy of the vaccine (for dogs only back then) and he didn't recommend it. That's been 10 years ago, so things may have changed a lot since then.

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post #3 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 12:15 PM
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Subbing -
I was going to ask this very question! Isn't there an anti venom you can carry/keep JIC?
Ewww. Totally scary, these and a few others have met their demise around here!

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
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Last edited by FlyGap; 03-06-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 12:21 PM
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If you trail often i'd certainly consider it. I have always heard about the vaccine but i've never known anyone to do it to their horses, just dogs. Our horse vet has never talked to us about it. We gave it to my dog because he "hunts" and I looked outside one day and he was standing there barking and trying to nip at a little baby rattlesnake D: We also put him through training to avoid the rattle sound and never had to deal with any bites, so i have no real experience with bites w/ the vaccine.

I'm usually very careful about trail riding and checking the barn and pasture. But I still have had a few close calls. Luckily my horses are very afraid of snakes. I was stupidly cantering along on a trail when my horse suddenly leaped to the side. While I was trying to regain my balance I look down and a huge rattlesnake is coiled up in the middle of the trail. I am so glad she saw it. I don't know anyone around here who has gotten the vaccine but I think I will start asking around.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 12:28 PM
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I didn't know that they made such a thing! That's really cool, several times I've ran across large rattlers and I don't usually trot on the trails anymore because I'm scared that I'll ride her right into one
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 01:18 PM
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We have a friend that lives where there are rattlers. He told us that it's unlikely for a horse to die from a bite. They will get sick though. Also it is worse if the bite is from a young snake vs mature one.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a link to a horse version of the rattlesnake vaccine - Rattlesnake Vaccine For Horses | Red Rock Biologics .

I'm sure there are others.

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post #8 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Flygap - I would assume an anti-venom is not available due to the expense of human anti-venoms for snake bites. However, if you hear about an anti-venom or venom inhibitor, please let us know. :)

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post #9 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 01:38 PM
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Like another poster said, it's not really common for a horse to be killed by the actual bite. Most of the time, they are bit on the nose and what kills them is the swelling because it swells their nostrils closed and they suffocate.

In all the years we've lived in Texas (smack dab in the middle of rattler country), we've had a lot of horses get bitten...only one died. She got bit on her neck, where it meets her jaw, right there close to that large vein. She didn't recover in spite of everything the vet did to save her.

All that said, I had never heard of a vaccine for bites so I don't know if it would be any help or not. I guess the thing you need to do is ask yourself if the cost, questionable efficiency (all vaccines are questionable), and possible side effects are worth it to try it out.

Always remember that feeling of looking at a big, open country over the ears of a good horse, seeing a new trail unwind ahead of you, and that ever-spectacular view from the top of the ridge!!! Follow my training blog: http://robertsontraining.blogspot.com/
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 02:12 PM
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Smrobs, what did the vet do for the bitten horses?
I'm going to talk to mine about it, just curious what yours did to compare notes.

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
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