As the weather warms up, snakes can become a problem for pet owners, but a simple vaccine could save your dog's life.
As temperatures rise, so does the risk of getting bitten by a snake. Veterinarians at Clay Hill Animal Clinic in Greenville say they offer a vaccine that can boost a dog's immunity to some snake venoms. They say they have not had any dogs die yet that have been vaccinated, "When the dog is bit, the dog's immune system neutralizes the venom. They still usually swell up, and they still need to go to the veterinarian and be treated, but the risk of them dying from it is greatly reduced," says Dr. Josh Gardner, a veterinarian and Clay Hill Animal Clinic Owner.
It is an annual vaccine that has been around for years, but many dog owners say they did not know it was available. For some, it is a precaution they wish they would have known about sooner, "A few months ago, we had a dog who had puppies and one of her dogs, we think, was bitten by a snake. It took us a while to find him and when we did find him his neck was swollen and his whole body was rigid," says dog owner, Samantha Smith.
Other dog owners say their pets are often around ponds and heavily wood areas where they could likely run into a snake, and having the vaccine gives them peace of mind, "Plenty of animals are snake bitten in this region of our country and, you know, if there's some little thing that you can do to help something that would be bitten then you need to do it," says dog owner, Mary Brown.
The veterinarians office also says the shot is only for dogs and it covers most snake venoms in the area. They say puppies must be four months old before they can receive the vaccination.