Should you get a rattlesnake vaccine for your dog? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Should you get a rattlesnake vaccine for your dog?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — It is rattle snake season and the extra rain this year means extra rattle snakes.  

Local pet emergency rooms near canyons and hiking trails have seen a spike in bites. 

Dr. Michelle Schexneider at the Tierrasanta Veterinary Hospital says there is one way to protect your dog - a rattle snake vaccine. 

"This vaccine helps the animal to give it a little more time to get to the emergency room to seek treatment," said Dr. Schexneider.  

A dog named Ranger was getting vaccinated after he had a close call with a rattlesnake just a few days ago. 

"We do a lot of hiking. We live near canyons," said owner Allen Angeles. 

The vaccine can eliminate the need for expensive anti-venom treatment. 

But Dr. Schexneider does not want dog owners to get a false sense of hope - you still need to bring a vaccinated dog to the vet if bitten. 

In some instances, the vaccine will buy your dog a few more hours for you to get the emergency room. 

"Always, always take you animal to the emergency room," Schexneider said.  

For ranger and his owner, the rattlesnake vaccine is a good investment. 

"Now we know he understands what a snake is and he will avoid them," Angeles said. "Just in case, we want to take the next step and for the cost, it's worth it." 

Shots cost $25 - $30 each and depending on the size, some dogs may need 2-3 shots per year. Anti-venom treatments can cost thousands of dollars.  

There is no vaccine for humans or cats.  

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