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Living in north, central New Jersey I've never had a lot of reason to worry about snakes. Hunting season was always in the cooler fall and winter temps. However, with my first lab that I've been training I find myself increasingly out in the fields/woods during the warmer spring and summer months. Does anyone up here in the northeast put their dogs through a snake avoidance class? In my area we have two types of poisonous snakes - the northern copperhead and some form of small rattlesnake. I have seen a rattlesnake only once while hunting in the fall but in mid-Pennsylvania, they are all over the place in the summer. Honestly, they scare the heck out of me and I wonder if there's anything I can do to protect my dog? Several of my southern friends enroll their dogs every year for the insurance.
 

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From Red Rock Biologics' website:

This rattlesnake vaccine was developed to protect against Western Diamondback Rattlesnake venom. It is most effective against this snake's venom.

Venom from many other snakes found throughout the United States is similar to the venom of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Because of these similarities, this vaccine also provides protection against the venoms of the Western Rattlesnake (including the Prairie, Great Basin, Northern and Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes), Sidewinder, Timber Rattlesnake, Massasauga and the Copperhead. This vaccine provides partial protection against the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.

This vaccine does not provide protection against the Water Moccasin (Cottonmouth), Mojave Rattlesnake or Coral Snakes. Red Rock Biologics is developing a variety of vaccines to provide the best protection against poisonous snakes for dogs in each part of the country.
 

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Our club does a snake avoidance clinic every year. It does not guarantee that your dog will not be bitten but it will condition the dog to avoid the sound, avoid the smell, and avoid sticking it's nose down to investigate the snake (which every single dog does at the clinic). When wet, the rattle snake cannot rattle. You dog could still run in a field and encounter a snake that he could not see, smell or hear.

As I understand it, the conditioning is for the specific type of snake that was used and other species will smell differently. (also don't shake a box of minute rice around your dog after it is conditioned :lol: - mine left the house a a full run)

I have also vaccinated our dogs with the rattlesnake shot...in regard to it, a couple club members did also and unfortunately their dogs were bitten. The cost to treat (1 vial of serum) and the time in peril (overnight observation) was greatly reduced. My vet commented that they had several snake bitten dogs come in and the results were good for those dogs with the shot.
 

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So how many folks on here use this vaccine?
 

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I know a lot of folks who use the vaccine on their pointy dogs. None have had a bad reaction to the vaccine but I don't know anyone whose had a dog bit while using the vaccine.

I do know of several dogs that have been bit with little ill effect. The dogs usually get bit in the face where there is little blood flow, the head swells us like a basketball but 48 hours and a fair amount of benedryl later they are hunting again. Not saying it wouldn't worry me sick but I know of one guy who has a pointer that he says has been bit 4 times. Unless it is in the neck or chest he doesn't even worry about it anymore.

DH
 

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One club member who did not use the vaccine at the time had 3 dogs bitten by a rattler caught in a fence. The one female almost died and the top of her head looks like the bear butt on the "Great Outdoors". She looks so sad...
 

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I don't think there are too many poisonous snakes around here so I've never heard of anyone having a dog vaccinated.I think Southern Illinois has copperheads and cottonmouths but I rarely go south and around here(very,very rare massauga) and timber rattlers north of here.In 49 years I've never seen a poisonous snake while wandering around in the woods.Do any of you in Illinois,Wisconsin,Minnesota or Michigan run across snakes that often to need a vaccine?
While we're talking snakes,I ran across this guy last night.This is the first one I've seen like this.He was about 3 to 4 feet long.I was going fishing and he was crossing the road.I looked him up in a snake book and it looks like a Fox snake.I'm not sure so if any snake experts want to identify him please correct me.He had no rattle but shook his tail.I don't think this is a poisonous snake.


 

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The area in Iowa with rattlers (I think Timber) is along the Cedar River near Muscatine, Iowa. There is an account of a farmer dying from a bite as far back as the mid 1800's. I have heard that snakes have been baled with the hay in this area.

We also used to fish at Lake Pippin (not sure that this is the correct spelling). It is up in the Wabasha area. The bar there had a large skin of a rattler that had been killed along the bluffs in that area.

If I still lived in Iowa, I probably would not be so concerned about snake bite. But living in Texas is another story. Dogs being bitten is much more common.

The snake pictured, I always called a bull snake (but to me they were either bull snakes or garter snakes :D ) and the ones I had encountered did make a rattle noise and really put up quite a display.
 

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Snke ID

Can you email me those pictures ([email protected]), I am a herpetologist and chase venomous snakes for a living when not playing the dog game, and will be able to ID the critter. It is either a Fox snake (Elaphae vulpina), or Praire Kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligastor). Most non-venomous snakes will rattle their tail, mimicking a rattlesnake, believe me it works really well.

Chris P.
 

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Illinois Bob said:
I don't think there are too many poisonous snakes around here so I've never heard of anyone having a dog vaccinated.I think Southern Illinois has copperheads and cottonmouths but I rarely go south and around here(very,very rare massauga) and timber rattlers north of here.In 49 years I've never seen a poisonous snake while wandering around in the woods.Do any of you in Illinois,Wisconsin,Minnesota or Michigan run across snakes that often to need a vaccine?
While we're talking snakes,I ran across this guy last night.This is the first one I've seen like this.He was about 3 to 4 feet long.I was going fishing and he was crossing the road.I looked him up in a snake book and it looks like a Fox snake.I'm not sure so if any snake experts want to identify him please correct me.He had no rattle but shook his tail.I don't think this is a poisonous snake.


Hey IL Bob,

Please try Prairie King Snake. I'm pretty sure we've seen him over Decatur-way a couple times. He's a big SOB and we get pretty excited when we see him around. We back up to a cornfield and have had mice infest our tractors, outboard cowlings and such....so we like this guy.

Where are you in IL? What dog games to do you run? I'd imagine we've crossed paths before and didn't realize it. Do you do the Sanganois Blind Draw party?

Chris
 

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Chris,I'm west of Elgin by Plato Center.I'm new to hunt tests but have hunted since the late 60's.So far I've only run 3.My last dog was trained just to hunt.I'm not sure if hunt tests were available when he was young.(Mid-eighties.)I don't know what the Sanganois Blind Drawing party is.I've never tried to draw a blind in Illinois although hunted around Fulton.Most of my hunting was done in Wisconsin or private illinois farms with my old dog.I'm starting all over again now hunting,training,etc with a new dog.The snake was at Shabbona State Park.I've never hunted in Ireland. :) (That looked like fun)
 

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what would be the procedure if your dog got bitten by a snake. Keeping in mind that you might not see what type of snake got him or her
 
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