SOURCE: University Animal Clinic

July 13, 2011 16:30 ET

University Park Veterinarians Announce Rattlesnake Vaccine to Protect Dogs From Snakebites

UNIVERSITY PARK, FL--(Marketwire - Jul 13, 2011) - The University Animal Clinic in University Park, Florida has announced that it carries the Red Rock Biologics rattlesnake vaccine. Rattlesnake bites have become a serious problem for pets in the University Park, Sarasota, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch communities in recent months. A rattlesnake bite is a major veterinary emergency that requires immediate care at a veterinary hospital, and leads to serious injury and even death for thousands of pets each year. Due to the increased rate of rattlesnake bites this year, Dr. Robert Rill, a veterinarian with University Animal Clinic, is encouraging all pet owners to vaccinate their dogs.

Dr. Robert Rill, a veterinarian with University Animal Clinic, announced that the animal hospital carries the Red Rock Biologics rattlesnake vaccine. In recent months, rattlesnake bites have become a serious problem for the pet community in Sarasota, Florida. University Animal Clinic is one of very few animal hospitals or animal vet clinics in the Sarasota area to carry the vaccination.

"Rattlesnakes are most active during warm months, between spring and fall, and we're in the middle of that activity period right now," said Dr. Rill. "I can't emphasize enough the importance of vaccinating your dog. Without protection, your dog is at serious risk of permanent injury or death from a bite. So many pet owners think 'this won't happen to my pet,' and then it does. Prevention is the best treatment."

The Red Rock Biologics rattlesnake vaccine works by creating an immunity that will help neutralize rattlesnake toxin if a dog is bitten by a rattlesnake. In the event of a bite, protective antibodies will begin to immediately neutralize the venom. Antibody levels in recently vaccinated dogs are comparable to treatment with three vials of anti-venom. Consequently, vaccinated dogs will experience less pain and a reduced risk of permanent injury from rattlesnake bite.

Following a rattlesnake bite, a complex mixture of toxins will spread through the dog's body. If a snake bites a dog, pet owners should look for puncture wounds on the dog's face and swelling at the site of the bite. A snake can strike at a distance of half its body length, and a rattlesnake may attack at any time. Many dogs stumble upon a rattlesnake by accident, and due to curiosity or protective instinct, place themselves at risk for a bite.

Dogs that have not been vaccinated will need to receive anti-venom injections that cost hundreds of dollars, in addition to emergency IV drips and other medications from an animal vet clinic.

Sarasota vet, Dr. Rill, cautions that a snakebite is always a veterinary emergency. "Even if your dog is protected by the vaccine, it is essential that you bring your pet come to an animal hospital as soon as possible for emergency care," said Dr. Rill. "There is still a risk that the open wound from the bite can become infected, and it is important to closely monitor your dog following a bite for complications. Vaccination, however, will greatly reduce the risk of serious injury and death for your dog."

At University Animal Clinic, a veterinarian administers the vaccine. Interested pet owners are asked to contact the animal vet clinic through the website,, for more information and to schedule an appointment. The rattlesnake vaccine is not approved for use with cats.

Contact Information

  • University Animal Clinic
    University Park, FL