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New vaccine may help save dogs bitten by rattlesnakes
By: Stephanie Guadian
The Borderland is seeing more rattlesnakes thanks to last month's rains. The snakes can be a serious danger to people and their pets. Martha Rodriguez knows this first hand.
Her dog Psycho is one tough one-eyed dog. The little poodle-chihuahua mix lost his eye after being bitten by a rattlesnake. It happened right in front of Rodriguezs home near Hueco Tanks. Her granddaughters were making mud pies near a cooler when they spotted the snake.
Whenever she saw him, she jumped back. And when she jumped back the snake struck. And when it did, Psycho jumped in front of him, said Rodriguez.
These days he's called a hero -- and a miracle. Thanks to emergency treatment, the 10-pound pup survived the snake's venomous bite.
Dr. Amy Starr is the owner of Mesa veterinary clinic. Shes one of many vets now offering a rattlesnake vaccine for dogs.
It's the type of rattlesnake that's here in Southern New Mexico, Western Texas. It's very venomous. So, it's much more potent, said Starr.
Dogs that are vaccinated and later bitten by a rattlesnake must still be rushed to a veterinarian office for emergency treatment.
A rattlesnake vaccination is a vaccine that's given to help buy time if an animal does get bit by a rattlesnake, said Starr.
The vaccine was developed to help dogs experience less pain and have a reduced risk of permanent injury.
The first time they have very had it, we give the vaccine. And then we give it again a month later. And then it's given every year. Just like your regular vaccines, Starr said.
Like all vaccines -- there is a potential for side effects. Martha plans to talk to her vet about the pros and cons. She knows Psycho will likely live up to his name again the next time he comes face to face with a rattlesnake.
The average cost of the rattlesnake vaccine is about $25. Psycho's vet bill was near $2,000.
Donations have helped the Rodriguez family pay for about half the bill.
Donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/42skes.