Tag Archives: rattlesnake vaccine

Canine Influenza – What You Need to Know



You may have heard news reports about the Canine Influenza Virus (CIV). While it is not currently a major problem in California or the U.S., we want to address news of the virus to inform and quell some of our clients’ concerns.

The first strain of CIV diagnosed in the world,  H3N8, was identified in 2004 in racing Greyhounds at a track in Florida. A vaccine was developed for this strain in 2009.

Another CIV strain, H3N2, which affects dogs, and rarely cats, was diagnosed first in South Korea in 2007, and in the United States in the Chicago area in March 2015.

(H3N2 is NOT the same strain as H3N2v, the swine flu, which effects pigs and humans.)

It is not currently known whether the H3N8 vaccine works to prevent or lessen the symptoms of the H3N2 virus.

There have been no reports of dog flu spreading from dogs to any humans, so do not fear.

We currently have the H3N8 vaccine available at the hospital, but we do not recommend it to our clients, unless it is needed for your pets to travel (some states and countries require it). The dog flu currently does not pose a threat large enough in California to necessitate routine vaccination.

The DHPP vaccine, Bordetella vaccine, Rabies vaccine, and if you’re a hiker or desert resident, the Rattlesnake vaccine, are the inoculations currently recommended to keep your pup healthy and protected.

The doctors at the hospital are monitoring the situation with updates from the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association, and we will change our recommendations if the virus ever shows signs of becoming a larger threat.


High fever, trouble breathing, loss of appetite, consistent dry or wet coughing, running nose, running eyes, lethargy.

Some dogs with CIV show no symptoms, but some can develop pneumonia and severe  respiratory infections.


Dog who go to dog parks, stay in boarding facilities, or have daily visits in a dog-friendly office are more likely to contract CIV then dogs who are mostly indoors. This is especially true if you live in a state that has had a CIV outbreak, such as Illinois or Indiana.

Older dogs, sick dogs, brachycephalic dogs (Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc.), and dogs with a history of respiratory infections will be more susceptible to developing severe respiratory illness and/or bacterial infection as a result of contracting CIV.

The percentage rate of dogs who die as a result of contracting CIV is very low. Some estimates put it as low as 1%, some go as high as 10%.


H3N8 and H3N2 are very contagious ! It spreads easily from surfaces, air, clothing, and shoe contamination, and dogs can spread the virus for up to 24 days, even if they do not show any symptoms. From the AVMA:

Canine influenza is spread via aerosolized respiratory secretions (via coughing, barking and sneezing) and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes) and people moving between infected and uninfected dogs. The virus can remain viable (alive and able to infect) on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours.

The incubation period is usually two to four days from exposure to onset of clinical signs. The highest amounts of viral shedding occur during this time; therefore, dogs are most contagious during this 2-4 day incubation period when they are not exhibiting signs of illness. Virus shedding decreases dramatically during the first 4 days of illness but may continue up to 7 days in most dogs and up to 10 days in some dogs with H3N8 canine influenza. Intermittent H3N2 shedding for up to 24 days can occur.


If your furry baby is showing signs and symptoms of CIV and you think your dog might have canine influenza, bring your dog to the hospital – before you bring your pet in, tell the staff if your dog has been coughing so we can determine if your dog needs to be brought in through another entrance and isolated.

There are two main types of tests, the PCR test, which involves simply swabbing your pets’ oral cavity (throat), as well as the serum test, which requires drawing blood. Currently, the PCR test is more reliable and is the hospital’s first choice when diagnosing CIV.

Treatment depends on the severity of your dog’s infection. Most dogs will not have severe symptoms, and keeping your dog hydrated with fluids and a long period of rest will be all your pup requires. Some dogs have more severe symptoms and develop secondary infections, in which case antibiotics and other medication may be used.


Currently, in California, you do not need to worry about CIV. We do not even recommend vaccinating for canine influenza at the current time. The best prevention is to stay informed, and be on top of your dog’s vaccinations and general health.

For more information please visit:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/canineflu/keyfacts.htm

AVMA : https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/Canine-Influenza-Backgrounder.aspx

(photo at top by Scott Robinson/Wikimedia Commons)

Rattlesnake Awareness – Take a Bite Out of Venom

Rattlesnake Crotalus_ruber_02

It’s that time of year again – Rattlesnake Season!

Rattlesnake Cassie Commercial

Rattlesnake Cassie 3












We had a client come in to the BHSAH last week with their beautiful dog Cassie, who was bitten several times on the muzzle. Above left is Cassie’s normal appearance, and above right is Cassie with swelling around her face and muzzle due to snake bites.

Thankfully, the owner had been vaccinating Cassie for rattlesnake venom for many years, and she recovered fine after only 1 and a half days in the hospital.

If you live in Southern California and you like to walk around in natural environments with your dog, it is so important to get your dog the rattlesnake vaccine. The rattlesnake vaccine is not a magical cloak of immunity, and any time a dog is bitten she should be immediately RUSHED to the hospital;  BUT the vaccine will give you more time to get to the hospital, and will slow the effects of the rattlesnake venom in your pet.

Please see our blog post about the rattlesnake vaccine here – you will find details about the type of snakes the vaccine guards against, symptoms of a rattlesnake bite to look out for in your pet, and tips on what to do if you see a snake while walking your pet.

(Rattlesnake pic by Dawson from Wikimedia Commons)

Venom- It’s Not Just A Heavy Metal Band. Get Your Rattlesnake Vaccines Now!

VENOM flat
BHSAH superstar Scout Bellomo loves to rock out with British heavy metal band Venom! But she doesn’t love it when her dog friends are bitten by venomous rattlesnakes. Protect your dogs with the rattlesnake vaccine!

It’s Spring! And this being Southern California, we are lucky with an amazing availability of hiking trails and campgrounds, some right here in the city, that come alive with vibrant sights and smells in the springtime.

Griffith Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, Elysian Park and the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area all make for wonderful trips for you and your dog, but with Spring comes the re-emergence of some very dangerous rattlesnakes who also call these wonderful locales their homes.

We highly encourage our patients that have a high potential of rattlesnake exposure to be vaccinated with the rattlesnake vaccine.

Hike with dog
If you go on hikes, camping trips, or day adventures in natural areas in southern California with your furry love, and run the risk of seeing a rattler, we encourage you to increase your buddy’s likelihood of survival of a snake bite with a rattlesnake vaccine

The rattlesnake vaccine induces the formation of neutralizing antibodies to the rattlesnake venom.  When these antibodies bind to the venom, your dog will exhibit a reduction in the harmful side effects that we normally see with rattlesnake envenomation.  This will give you more time to rush your dog into the nearest emergency hospital for additional treatment.  And when you’re up in the mountains, camping at night, or on a trail in the desert, and your dog is bitten by a snake, what you need most is TIME TIME TIME.

This vaccine is not a magic cloak of immunity for a snake bite, but it WILL increase the likelihood that your dog will survive a rattlesnake bite.

The manufacturers of the rattlesnake vaccine that we use at the Beverly Hills Small Animal Hospital, Red Rock Biologics, developed the vaccine to protect against the venom of the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, and therefore the vaccine is most effective against this type of snake, a common and dangerous snake in Southern California. The vaccine will also provide some protection against bites from other rattlesnakes present in Southern California that have a similar type of venom to the Western Diamondback, such as the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake and the Sidewinder Rattlesnake. The Rattlesnake Vaccine does NOT protect against the Mojave Rattlesnake, or the Arizona Coral Snake.

Dogs, four months and older, can be safely given the rattlesnake vaccine.  Initially two vaccines one month apart are given, and then an annual vaccine is given.  It is highly recommended that the vaccinations be given in early spring just before the emergence of rattlesnakes.     


Pay attention! This Western Diamondback blends perfectly into her surroundings. Be alert when walking your dog in grassy terrain.

A RATTLESNAKE BITE IS ALWAYS AN EMERGENCY! Regardless of whether or not your dog has been vaccinated for rattlesnake bite, it is always imperative that you rush your dog to the closest animal hospital possible as quickly as possible after a snake bite. Every rattlesnake in Southern California is venomous.


  • puncture wounds (can be bleeding)
  • hemorrhaging from the bite wound
  • severe pain
  • swelling
  • restlessness, panting, or drooling
  • lethargy, weakness, sometimes collapse
  • muscle tremors
  • diarrhea
  • seizures
  • neurological signs including depressed respiration


And here are some additional rattlesnake safety tips, from adoptapet.com:

1. Walk your dog on a 6-foot leash. This will enable you to pull your dog in and change your path if you see a snake ahead of you.

2. Stick to trails. Snakes are more likely to make their homes in dense grass, brush, or rocky areas, off the beaten path.

3. If you see a snake and it is already rattling its tail at you, calmly and slowly back yourself and your dog away, and then leave the area carefully.


(Kickass photo at top by Melanie/Angelo Bellomo/Jonas Rogowski/BHSAH social media advisory team, serene lovely photo in the middle from ak9slife.blogspot.com, Western Diamondback image from junglewalk.com)