Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes are North America’s largest (by weight) venomous snake, and one of the most dangerous reptiles on the continent. While deaths from venomous snake bites are uncommon, rattlesnake venom can be fatal, especially for animals (dogs are 20x more likely to be bitten by venomous snakes than people are). According to the CDC, almost half of snake bite victims lose fingers, feet, or full limbs to rattlesnake attacks. Keep reading to find out how you can protect your dog.

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Fortunately for this man who narrowly escaped getting bitten by an eastern diamondback, he got to keep all of his fingers, but he lost something much more precious.

Rick who saved his human life from rattlesnake bite dog. Dog bitten by rattlesnake
Source: Petstheworld.com

Rick, a friendly family dog with a passion for tug-of-war, was playing with his favorite rope toy in the yard with his owner. Suddenly, Rick lunged at his owner’s feet, snapping at them. Shocked by this uncharacteristic move, his owner fell backward and away from his usually friendly dog. 

Trying to regain his composure, the man sat up and saw what he thought was Rick savagely shaking his rope toy. Moments later, the reality became uncomfortably clear: Rick was holding a massive rattlesnake in his jaws. 

Seeing a threat to his owner, Rick had moved on instinct, protecting his person and killing the venomous snake in the process. But, Rick didn’t get away unscathed. 

Rattlesnake bite dog
Source: Petstheworld.com

Rick’s dad could see that his beloved pup was injured, having sustained a bite directly on the face from the defensive snake. Bleeding and beginning to swell, Rick’s nose was not in good shape. 

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Rick was immediately rushed to the emergency vet, where he was treated for the wound. Sadly, the venom had already begun to take effect, and Rick passed away shortly after heroically saving his human from a serious injury. 

Today, Rick’s family still misses and thinks about him, and are so thankful for saving Dad. Thanks to his bravery, a human family is still together, and we can spread awareness about the risks of rattlesnakes to dogs. 

Rick who saved his human life from rattlesnake. Dog bitten by rattlesnake
Source: Petstheworld.com

How Can Rattlesnake Dog Deaths Be Avoided?

A dog bitten by a rattlesnake is fairly common, so if you live somewhere with rattlesnakes or other venomous snakes, like the Southwestern United States, consider creating a plan in the event you and your dog encounter one.

1. Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

A rattlesnake vaccine for dogs has been available since 2003 and is a basic vaccine for dogs who live in areas where rattlesnakes are most common. Ask your vet about rattlesnake vaccines, which help your dog to produce antibodies against rattlesnake venom, reducing their risk of serious injury or death if they get bitten.

  1. How often do dogs get rattlesnake vaccine?
    • Every six months. And they need to be vaccinated at least 30 days prior to a potential encounter as it takes that long to reach full antibody protection.
  2. How much does the rattlesnake vaccine cost for dogs?
    • $25-$50
  3. Side effects of rattlesnake vaccine for dogs
    • 1% of dogs get a temporary lump at the injection site that goes away on it’s own. It’s been used in over 100,000 dogs over many years.
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2. Rattlesnake Antivenom for dogs

If your dog hasn’t been vaccinated, then there are a number of effective antivenoms available for dogs. According to one study, all of the antivenoms available are equally effective. However, they are expensive. The treatment may cost more than $2500.

3. Aversion Training

You can also look into snake aversion training, which teaches your dog to identify and avoid rattlesnakes. 


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