Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs – Pros & Cons, Side Effects & More!

Do you know venomous snakes bite around 150,000 dogs and cats every year? Your furry friend is 20 times more likely to get bitten by a snake and 25 times more likely to die if bitten. 

Snake bites are not only life-threatening but also extremely painful and costly to treat. Even if your dog is lucky to survive a rattlesnake bite, it may cause permanent damage. 

When a rattlesnake bites a dog, its venom is immediately absorbed into both skin and the bloodstream. This causes an immediate release of hemotoxic elements, which quickly destroy tissue cells and cause death within minutes. Furthermore, neurotoxins may be released, which could impair breathing.

To avoid this problem, experts suggest administering the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs. This precautionary measure can save your furry friend’s life if they get bitten.  

For more information on the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs, please keep reading.

Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs – All You Need To Know

Rattlesnake bites can be deadly and lead to life-threatening complications, such as swelling of the skin, difficulty breathing, blood clotting issues, or even death. 

If your dog has been bitten by a rattlesnake, it is critical that you seek medical help immediately. Some dogs recover fully, while others struggle with severe pain or other complications. 

To protect your dog from becoming a victim of a rattlesnake bite, implement good habitat management. Furthermore, you can discuss the potential benefits of receiving a rattlesnake vaccine with your veterinarian.

Crotalus Atrox Toxoid (or Rattlesnake Vaccine) for dogs is a type of vaccine that has been clinically proven to create protective antibodies that neutralize rattlesnake venom.

According to the manufacturer, dogs that receive this vaccine experience less pain and have a reduced risk of permanent injury after a snake bite. Furthermore, dogs using this vaccine require less antivenin after a bite – providing pet owners with valuable savings in antivenin costs.

Cortalus Atrox Toxoid vaccination should be given in two doses, spaced approximately one month apart. This will provide immunity that lasts up to six months, and then a booster shot should be administered annually for ongoing protection.

The vaccine is generally safe and effective in most dogs. Adverse reactions are reported in less than one percent of vaccinated dogs, usually self-resolving within a few days.

Smaller dogs, particularly those who may have difficulty producing their own antibodies, benefit from receiving this vaccine as they can be more vulnerable to venom.

This vaccine is recommended for adventurous dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors and in high-risk areas such as yards or other places where snakes often lurk. It’s especially important for those dogs with a history of being bitten by rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs – Pros & Cons

Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs - Pros & Cons
The Pros of Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs
The Cons of the Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

Rattlesnakes are common throughout our world and can pose a real danger to our pups, particularly if they live or visit areas where these snakes often live. With that being said, there are ways you can protect your dog against these potential hazards.

Vaccinating your dog is a way to boost its body’s production of protective antibodies in the bloodstream that can neutralize snake venom and reduce pain from bites. 

Before vaccinating your dog against rattlesnakes, there are both pros and cons to consider. 

The Pros of Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

  • Approved by the USDA

Rattlesnake vaccines are approved and recommended by the USDA and veterinarians for dogs living in areas where rattlesnakes may be present or for those accompanying their owners on hikes, camping trips, hunting adventures, or other outdoor activities.

Two subcutaneous shots should be administered 30 days apart, and booster shots every six months following the initial series of vaccinations.

  • Reduces Venomous Snake Bite Effects

The rattlesnake vaccine is intended to activate your dog’s immune system and produce protective antibodies against rattlesnake venom, neutralizing it before any harm is done. These antibodies can reduce symptoms associated with a snake bite and may even allow your pup more time in an emergency clinic for treatment.

  • Reduces Crotalid Envenomation

One study demonstrated that dogs who had received rattlesnake vaccinations experienced lower rates of crotalid envenomation and better survival outcomes than unvaccinated ones.

The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on several factors, including the type and amount of venom delivered by the snake biting your dog; its age, weight, and immune system; as well as when its last dose was administered. 

  • Vaccine Stimulates Dog’s Immune System

The rattlesnake vaccine stimulates your dog’s immune system to produce antibodies that fight snake venom.

This allows your pup to recover faster and experience less pain or swelling after being bitten by a snake. This is especially important if you live in a country where there are snakes or your pup goes on trips where they could come into contact with venomous snakes.

  • Available for Puppies

These vaccines are also available for puppies. Starting at 16 weeks of age, you can take your pup to a vet to get this vaccine. Vaccinating early will give your pup the best possible protection against these issues. Veterinarians recommend that dogs who spend time in areas with many rattlesnakes should receive the vaccine as soon as possible. 

  • Shorter Recovery Time

One in every 3,000 dogs receiving the vaccine has experienced flu-like symptoms. However, your dog can recover shortly after taking the vaccine. The swelling caused by venomous snake bites may persist for several days, while in vaccinated dogs, it typically subsides in approximately 20 minutes.

  • Protection for High-Risk Rattlesnake Areas

If you live in a high-risk rattlesnake area, it is best to get a rattlesnake vaccine for your dog. Vaccination against rattlesnake bites is not necessary for all pet owners in the United States. It is recommended mainly for those residing in high-risk geographical regions with a significant rattlesnake population, like Southern California.

  • Protects Against Many Types of Rattlesnakes

The vaccine for rattlesnake bites in dogs is effective against bites from several species, including Copperheads, Western Diamondback, Western Rattler, Pygmy Rattlers, Massasaugas, Sidewinders, and Timber Rattlers.

  • Vaccine Costs Less Than Treatment

Rattlesnake bites can be deadly for dogs as the venom causes extreme swelling (of the face or paws), blood loss, shock, and even death.

Treatment options for a rattlesnake bite include antivenom injections, hospitalization with intravenous fluids and medications, as well as surgery if necessary. Thankfully, there is a rattlesnake vaccine available which is cheaper than the cost of treatment. 

  • Important for Smaller Dogs

When a dog gets bitten by a snake, two critical factors that influence the severity of the venom’s impact are its body weight and immune system. Smaller dogs with lower body weight, especially those with immune system issues, are at the highest risk of suffering the most severe effects of the venom.

The Cons of the Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

  • Annual Vaccination

The rattlesnake vaccine for dogs offers many advantages but also some drawbacks. One major drawback is that dogs must receive vaccinations annually in order for the vaccine to remain effective.

Crotalus Atrox Toxoid, manufactured by Red Rock Biologics, is the most popular rattlesnake vaccine for animals. It should be given in two doses spaced a month apart during the initial year and followed by an annual booster thereafter.

  • Increased Frequency in High-Risk Areas

For dogs residing in regions like Southern California with a substantial rattlesnake population, vaccination every six months may be necessary.

We suggest two boosters for smaller dogs (under 25 pounds) and three for larger breeds to ensure your canine’s immune system has built up enough antibody titer to protect them against a snake bite.

More frequent boosters may be necessary if your pet lives in an area where rattlesnakes are active year-round, however.

  • Does Not Protect Against Other Poisonous Snakes

Vaccines are designed to stimulate your dog’s immune system and create antibodies that will shield them from toxins.

Unfortunately, the vaccine is not 100% effective and does not protect your dog against other poisonous snakes like Mojave or coral snakes. Despite these drawbacks, however, vaccination remains an invaluable tool in keeping your pup safe in the wild.

  • Not 100% Effective

When a dog is bitten by a rattlesnake, its body may experience shock and suffer serious aftereffects such as muscle, liver, or neurological damage.

Vaccines can help lessen the severity of these symptoms and give you some time to get your pet to the vet before it’s too late. Unfortunately, they are not 100% successful; a dog that has been bitten will still require emergency veterinary attention.

  • Vaccine Cost

The cost of the rattlesnake vaccine for dogs may be a significant consideration for pet owners, depending on their financial situation.

For some, the expense of the vaccine may not be easily affordable, especially if they have other pet-related costs to manage. In such cases, they may need to weigh the benefits of the vaccination against the potential costs of treating a snakebite.

  • Side Effects of the Vaccine

Rattlesnake Vaccine does not protect against other poisonous snakes. Additionally, the vaccination has some side effects and cannot be recommended for all dogs. Flu-like symptoms are the most commonly reported side effect of the vaccine.

Common Side Effects of Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

Common Side Effects of Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs

While the rattlesnake vaccine is a blessing for pet owners, it comes with various side effects that you must consider. 

  • Swelling or Tenderness at the Site of Injection

Swelling or tenderness at the site of injection is a common side effect associated with vaccinations. Usually, these reactions are not serious and only last a day or two. Injection reactions can be caused by a number of things, including an allergic reaction to the needle or medicine.

They could also be the result of an issue with the injection technique itself. You can help reduce swelling or pain at the injection site by massaging it gently three or more times daily. 

  • Temporary Flu-Like Symptoms

Rattlesnake vaccination is an option to help reduce the chances of your dog being bitten by these deadly snakes. The vaccine is generally safe and effective, having been recommended by thousands of veterinarians across America.

Nonetheless, there may be some side effects to be aware of from taking this vaccine. One of the most frequent side effects in dogs is temporary flu-like symptoms. These usually subside after a few weeks.

  • Mild Lethargy or Decreased Appetite

After receiving the rattlesnake vaccine, your dog may experience mild lethargy or decreased appetite. This is an expected side effect and usually resolves within a day or two; however, you should notify your veterinarian if this persists or worsens.

  • Hives or Facial Swelling

In the most common allergic reaction, hives and facial swelling may appear. These reactions are especially prevalent after a dog has received vaccination within 30 days or has recently been exposed to rattlesnake bites. Hives are small, red bumps that commonly appear on hairless areas of skin or on body parts. 

  • Mild Fever

Some dogs who have recently received vaccinations may experience a mild fever. Usually, however, this is only temporary and typically clears up on its own within a few days.

How Much Does Rattlesnake Vaccine Cost For Dogs?

To get your dog vaccinated against rattlesnake bites, you will need to pay $25 for the vaccine and an examination fee charged by your veterinarian. Your dog will require two additional booster shots spaced four weeks apart, bringing the total cost of the vaccine to $50, plus any charges for the veterinary appointment.

The rattlesnake vaccine is effective for about six months, and you can ask your veterinarian to incorporate booster shots into your dog’s annual vaccination schedule. However, it is crucial to note that the vaccine does not substitute prompt medical attention in case your dog gets bitten by a rattlesnake.

Even if a dog has been vaccinated, it’s still essential to seek immediate veterinary assistance after the bite. This is because even with antivenin, an antiserum that neutralizes the venom from a rattlesnake bite, there may still be residual effects.

Where to Find Canine Rattlesnake Vaccine?

Rattlesnake bites can be devastating for dogs; even if they manage to survive the initial effects of the bite, permanent damage may ensue.

Vaccination can help minimize the severity of a snakebite, reduce treatment costs, and expedite your dog’s recovery time. Here are some places where you can find rattlesnake vaccines. 

  • Local Veterinary Clinics
  • Animal Hospitals
  • Animal Shelters
  • Private Veterinary Clinics


Rattlesnake Vaccine For Dogs
Where to Find Canine Rattlesnake Vaccine
How Much Does Rattlesnake Vaccine Cost For Dogs

Rattlesnake bites pose a severe threat to dogs and can cause severe injury, pain, or even death. Dogs are 25 times more susceptible to rattlesnake bites than humans, making vaccination against these deadly bites critical.

Vaccinations work by triggering the immune system to produce long-lasting antibodies against venom or viruses.

The Cortalus Atrox Toxoid Rattlesnake vaccine is tailored to protect against rattlesnake bites, but it is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your pet’s safety and well-being.


  1. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Website: https://www.avma.org/
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website: https://www.cdc.gov/
  3. Merck Veterinary Manual Website: https://www.merckvetmanual.com/

Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners

I hope this article has helped you just a bit in everyday life as a dog owner. Being a dog owner for more than 25 years, I’ve tried many different products with varying success, but these products below are some that I can highly recommend to every dog and their owner without hesitation!

These links are affiliate links, so if you do end up using the links, I will earn a commission. But it’s products that I use daily myself, and I have the utmost praise for.

Dog Food: Every dog needs to eat correctly, and finding the best food for your dog can be challenging, as the market is absolutely flooded with products. But since 2015 when the company was founded, I’ve been using Ollie Petfood. With their product being tailor-made to suit every dog’s specific needs, and as my dogs love the product, I’m pretty sure I’ve found a product I will continue to use for many years more. If you use my link you can get 50% off your first order.

Dog Training: If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know that it requires a lot of training to grow into a well-behaved adult. Brain Training for Dogs has helped me immensely with the mental training part of raising a dog, and it’s something I strongly recommend you consider.

Grooming: If you have a dog in your home, you’re going to need a brush, and for this, I recommend a Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For that price, you simply can’t beat this brush for everyday grooming.

If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!