Venom, Antivenom, Vaccine

Sorry for the long absence, Oh Vast Readership of mine.

That standoff between me and Ugly Dog lasted quite a long time. We finally took a break so we could have a snack. Still no word on when she’ll guest blog.

And then I was taken to the veterinarian—oh the trauma! They took my temperature and they cut my feet off (Legs1 says they only trimmed my nails, but I’m not buying it) and they gave me a rattlesnake vaccine. I screamed and screamed, which seemed to help, as they finally stopped torturing me.

It turns out that rattlesnakes are quite common where we live in Sandy Eggo. Their venom can disable or kill a small dog very quickly, and the antivenom is very expensive. (My cousin Marley was bit when she was a puppy. She required four vials of antivenom. Family lore differs on whether that cost $500 or $1,000 per vial. Even with that, it took her a long time to recover.)

There is some difference in opinion whether rattlesnake vaccine is the best thing to use. There have been some dogs who were made very sick by it. And it still means you have to be rushed to the animal ER and given antivenom—the hope is that with the vaccine, you have more time to get there and that you may need fewer vials of the expensive stuff.

Some people prefer aversion therapy, where you train a dog what a rattlesnake smells, sounds, and looks like and teach them to stay away—by zapping them with electricity, usually. This system works pretty well depending on the dog’s personality. But in our yard, there are bushes where a sleeping rattlesnake could hide and if I were on the heels of a jack rabbit, for example, I might not notice the smell until it is much too late.

Legs1 and Legs2 have seen about three rattlesnakes in their backyard every summer, including this teenager spotted by the front door last year:


Inchworm, Inchworm, Measuring the Marigolds... NOT!

Inchworm, Inchworm, Measuring the Marigolds... NOT!


The upshot is that I was given a vaccine. About a week later, Legs1 found a lump on my neck at the injection site, meaning I am having a reaction to the vaccine. (I can’t even wear my beloved Harley-Davidson collar right now!) Legs1 didn’t get too freaked out by my lump because my Ghost Brother, Beso, used to get the same thing after his rattlesnake vaccines. You need to keep an eye on them, but most of the time, they are harmless.

But it means there won’t be any cute pictures of me for a few more days. I know that must be hard on all of you, but please be patient, and I’ll be back soon, as good as new.


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