All of these warm beautiful days have many of us hitting the hiking trails with our four-legged friends. We are lucky to have so many amazing trails right in our backyard. A lot of people are surprised to learn that we have rattlesnakes here in Central Oregon. Here are some tips to help keep you and your dog safe while hiking in rattlesnake areas.
- Stay on the trail
- Remaining on the path will reduce your chances of meeting a rattlesnake. Avoid thick brush or weeds. Do not turn over rocks or logs as this could disturb a snake and result in a bite. Frequenting high trafficked trails is always a good idea.
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Keeping your dog tethered and close to you will reduce their chances of exploring areas where snakes might be present. It is important to discourage digging near rocks or logs.
- Dress appropriately
- It is recommended to wear long, loose fitting pants, thick socks, and closed toed shoes or boots. These clothing items will help protect your skin from a bite.
- Watch where you are going!
- Keeping an eye on your feet (and your dog’s feet) to know where you are stepping is of utmost importance.
Red Rock Biologics, a laboratory based out of California, developed a vaccination to help protect dogs from the harmful effects of a rattlesnake bite (we carry this vaccination here at East Bend Animal Hospital). This vaccine, Crotalus Atrox Toxoid, was designed to generate protective antibodies against rattlesnake venom if a dog gets bitten. The vaccine works by stimulating a dog’s immunity to try and protect it from the venom. Studies shows that dogs that receive the vaccination are likely to experience less pain and have a reduced chance of long-term or permanent injury from a bite. It is important to note that even though the vaccine may reduce signs if a dog is bitten, it is still recommended to seek immediate veterinary care. Rattlesnake bites are ALWAYS considered an emergency.
If you are planning on taking your dog hiking in areas with rattlesnakes, call us today to see if your dog could benefit from the vaccination.