Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Some piece of mind

I have to thank Carol for reminding me that not every dog owner knows about the comparatively new rattlesnake vaccine for dogs I mentioned earlier. I thought it might be useful to say something about it for those who might be interested.

An outfit called Red Rock Biologics has developed a snakebite protection inoculation for our four-legged friends. You need two shots, a month apart, to get the dog started. My vet charges $25 for each shot. After that you need to get them a booster every year, also $25. I call that cheap piece-of-mind if you live in snake country. Mags and Emma have had their two shots and Jack will get his second in about three weeks. That's $150 to get my dogs onto the program and then $75 a year thereafter. My dogs are worth a lot more than that to me.

My vet wanted me to stay fairly close for a couple of hours after the first shots, in case the dog developed an allergic reaction to the shot. None of my three showed any signs of a reaction of any kind. Something else to keep in mind: If your dog is ever bitten by a snake, you should get him to a vet as soon as possible, vaccine or no vaccine. Dogs that are inoculated are unlikely to suffer the horrible and painful swelling that results from a bite, nor the fatal consequences so often suffered by unprotected dogs.

The fact that my dogs are "protected" will not make me careless about where we go or what I let them do, but I feel I have provided them with an edge and that makes me feel good. We're lucky in that we have no rattlers in our immediate area. This is because the prairie dog has been been pretty much extirpated from right around here, plus we have no rocks for dens and hiding places. (We are nothing but sand and you couldn't find so much as a pebble if your life depended on it.)

Though the vaccine is advertised as for rattlesnakes, Red Rock says it also protects against copperheads.

[The photograph was made on a friend's ranch about 100 miles south of me. I hope to never be able to make such a picture close by!]

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