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Rattlesnake Vaccine Abscess


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shoot-straight


 

only a small number of the dogs had the vaccine. 17%. I would Have liked to have seen a larger sample size there. 
 

I did find it very interesting that 5 dogs died, of those, none of those had the vaccine. Again, a larger number of vaccinated dogs would have been interesting. 
 

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One telling matter about the RR efficacy was one major vet school in CA would not stock the vaccine in its pharmacy because of no scientific studies available on its effectiveness.  That influenced me not to vaccinate the  MuttPak with RR.  Two seasons ago, I relented and had them vaccinated.  Maybe it's the veterinary medicine equivalent of whistling in the cemetery to ward off ghosts. A retired vet in Florida who in retirement ran a  snake aversion  program for years with venomous snakes, when I asked him about its effectiveness he gave a very non-committal, flat toned:  "I would tell my patients it's up to them if they really want it."  Gil

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Kansas Big Dog
35 minutes ago, snapt said:

I just want to see a photo of one of these Settnies.

I have one of Charlie the settany pointing a quail on a KS quail hunt a few years back. I'll try and find it. If I remember, Charlies on point on the edge of a pond dam, Steve is going in to flush and Belle is backing. Belle is now owned by UJer Salmontongue. I think we killed 6 birds that day. It was a good hunt.

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i read the paper. Here is what I find in their conclusion...


"After adjusting for the number of antivenin vials administered, body weight, and bite location, unvaccinated dogs were 2.7 times more likely to have higher morbidity scores, although this estimate was not statistically significant (P=0.1673, Table 3). Vaccination status did not significantly affect the length of hospitalization (P=0.8119) or the number of antivenin vials required for the treatment (P=0.6923). Based on these preliminary results, a power analysis estimates that a total sample size of 400 envenomated dogs, with half having a history of prior vaccination, would be required to prove with statistical vigor that vaccination provides a clinical benefit." 

 

This seems, at best, very inconclusive, but does suggest that there is a benefit to the RR vaccine. And the argument against use of the RR vaccine that I have always heard from vets and others who do not agree that the vaccine is beneficial is always that "there are no conclusive controlled studies' - as suggested in their concluding remarks.

 

It seems that horses are able to generate antibodies (the source of antivenin) through a natural response to envenomation. Has any third party tested dogs post vaccination to determine the presence of antibodies? In other words, what the RR vaccine is developed to do is help dogs to generate their own immune response PRIOR to being bitten. Does the evidence show that this cannot be done? No.

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shoot-straight
11 hours ago, Chukarman said:

i read the paper. Here is what I find in their conclusion...


"After adjusting for the number of antivenin vials administered, body weight, and bite location, unvaccinated dogs were 2.7 times more likely to have higher morbidity scores, although this estimate was not statistically significant (P=0.1673, Table 3). Vaccination status did not significantly affect the length of hospitalization (P=0.8119) or the number of antivenin vials required for the treatment (P=0.6923). Based on these preliminary results, a power analysis estimates that a total sample size of 400 envenomated dogs, with half having a history of prior vaccination, would be required to prove with statistical vigor that vaccination provides a clinical benefit." 

 

This seems, at best, very inconclusive, but does suggest that there is a benefit to the RR vaccine. And the argument against use of the RR vaccine that I have always heard from vets and others who do not agree that the vaccine is beneficial is always that "there are no conclusive controlled studies' - as suggested in their concluding remarks.

 

It seems that horses are able to generate antibodies (the source of antivenin) through a natural response to envenomation. Has any third party tested dogs post vaccination to determine the presence of antibodies? In other words, what the RR vaccine is developed to do is help dogs to generate their own immune response PRIOR to being bitten. Does the evidence show that this cannot be done? No.

This is exactly  what I was getting at. 

 

I know just enough about stats to get myself into trouble, but another term for "significant" could be "overwhelming". If there is even a slim a chance it could save my dog, I would likely do it. I think most of us here would. I will venture out west at some point with my new pup, and I will have a choice to make. I dont think there are avoidance classes anywhere around here. 

 

All that said, I totally respect Dogwoods opinion, I wish he were my vet here- Ill bet most of us would love to have our pets under his care.  

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I have zero argument with Dogwood. I hope that my response does not cause anyone to think that I do.

 

The study that he linked to is a start for further investigation, certainly. But the study's authors also admit that there are possible flaws in their method of selection and consideration of data. To wit:

 

1. The subjects included in the study were chosen based on the level of 'morbidity' presented - which translates to how serious the bite symptoms were. Those that did not reach their selection threshold were not included in the study. During the selection process here was no effort made to determine which dogs had received the RR vaccine. If the RR vaccine works, most dogs who had received the vaccine would be expected to present with low levels of morbidity - and therefore be excluded from the study. In fact, in my experience the RR vaccine does exactly that - reduces symptoms, sometimes within 24 hours.

 

2. The statistical tools used seem to set a rather high standard for significance. Perhaps it was required with such a small sample, but given the possibly flawed selection criteria the result obtained could be anticipated.

 

3. No data was presented that indicated whether the selected animals that did have the RR vaccine were current on their vaccine schedule. It may well be that they ware not current and as a consequence displayed morbidity levels high enough to be selected for the study. In any case no dog in the study that had the RR vaccine died as a result of the snake bite.

 

4. Since the RR vaccine was developed to counteract the venom of the western diamondback and no ID of the species of snake involved in the bites of the selected animals, casts a bit more doubt on the reliability of the study. RR Labs does state that there are benefits with some other species of rattlesnakes, those species whose venom is all or largely neurotoxin are specifically excluded from their claims of protection.

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I have always dreamed of heading west for birds but did not think that snakes would be an issue in the northern states. Never worried in North Dakota, maybe I should have. Anyhow, a friend recently took his family to the Big Horn river and then Red Lodge, rented a drift boat and floated the Big Horn. He said they saw numerous snakes along the bank. That got me to thinking, although I am not planning any trips this year and then I found this thread

 

Realize that cold weather sends snakes underground.  Did not know there was a vaccine for snake bites, which from this thread seems to be a bit inconclusive as to effectiveness.

 

My question, what to do if your dog is bitten, how much time do you have to get to a vet? Could use Google, but figured the collective here was a better choice. PM me if you think this derails the post.

 

 

 

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I have encountered rattlesnakes in most northern states that I have hunted - the Dakotas, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Many bird dog people (and vets in snake country) believe that the RR vaccine provides a level of protection.

 

Personally, I use the RR vaccine, snake break the dogs, and carry epinephrine injections for emergency use. I would like to give every one of my dogs every possible chance to survive a snakebite. Of course, in the event of a snake bite you should ALWAYS seek veterinary care immediately. Antibiotics are usually recommended as well.

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The study authors state in the discussion that more studies would further clarify the clinical value of the vaccine, but their data in this study showed it to be dubious.  It's a rare properly done peer-reviewed veterinary study that is conclusive.  It's another piece of an ongoing puzzle.  

 

Frankly I was pleasantly surprised that someone was able to scratch up the funding for such a study, even given it's limitations, in that snake-bite cases are of such relatively minor overall clinical significance. So don't hold your breath for additional studies.  Ain't happening IMO.   Kudos to the researchers.

 

Furthermore, and lastly, it's bears noting that as a profession we simply LOVE to vaccinate for stuff.  Vaccinations are a significant part of practice income.  So it's all the more interesting and revealing that the pretty clear consensus amongst veterinarians ANECDOTALLY (there's that word again!) is that the RR vaccine value is relatively poor. And on top of that prone to causing sterile abscesses.   It can be difficult for our profession to concede that a given source of income isn't worth your money, to be blunt. But there you have it.

 

Still, if you believe the vaccine has medical value you better be damn sure your dog gets vaccinated.  Because if you don't, and the pooch gets bit and dies, you may never forgive yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, bigdog MN said:

I have always dreamed of heading west for birds but did not think that snakes would be an issue in the northern states. Never worried in North Dakota, maybe I should have. Anyhow, a friend recently took his family to the Big Horn river and then Red Lodge, rented a drift boat and floated the Big Horn. He said they saw numerous snakes along the bank. That got me to thinking, although I am not planning any trips this year and then I found this thread

 

Realize that cold weather sends snakes underground.  Did not know there was a vaccine for snake bites, which from this thread seems to be a bit inconclusive as to effectiveness.

 

My question, what to do if your dog is bitten, how much time do you have to get to a vet? Could use Google, but figured the collective here was a better choice. PM me if you think this derails the post.

Since retiring from the Navy and moving to South Dakota I have had four dogs, three Labs and one GSP.

Three of the four have been bitten by Rattlesnakes. Two of the Labs and the GSP

The one dog that was not bitten went through an E-Collar live rattlesnake "Snake Breaking Class".

 

I vaccinate all my dogs with the Red Rocks vaccine which anecdotally appears to be effective.

 

When my GSP was bitten I saw it happen, he ran over a large snake in a cut wheat field in Montana, the snake struck him and bit him in the jowl.

The dog immediately returned to me.  We had about a half-mile walk back to the truck and then a good 30-minute ride to town and the Vet.

His head swelled to the size of a volleyball.  The Vet treated him with antibiotics and steroids, kept him overnight, and released him to me at noon the next day with the advice to rest him for 24 more hours.  I did and he hunted well the following day with only a small amount of residual swelling in his jowls.

 

The first of my Labs that was bitten no one saw the bite but his head and neck swelled up, my wife took him to the Vet and the vet discovered two puncture marks on his cheek.  

Treated with Antibiotics and steroids.  Good to go 48 hours later.

 

The second of my Labs to be bitten was messing with something near the driveway, I heard him Yelp and saw him jump.  

I didn't think anything more about it at the time as he is sometimes a little spooky around new stuff.

Later, maybe 36 hours later, I noticed a small swollen area on his right cheek, about the size of a golf ball.  Within the lump were two crusty scabs.

The lump looked infected.  The Vet thought he had been bitten but that it was a "dry bite".  Treated with antibiotics.  The dog recovered and is sitting at my feet as I type this.

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Steroids are not useful for snakebites and can in fact lead to a higher incidence of necrotic infections due to immune suppression given the cesspool of bacteria in a snakes mouth.  Good thing antibiotics were given . . .

 

IV fluids, antibiotics, and antivenom are the mainstays of proper snakebite treatment. That's what my western colleagues tell me. Avoidance training for prevention.

 

Red Rocks has no controlled studies demonstrating vaccine efficacy BTW.  Never underestimate the power of the placebo effect however.

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