Southern Pacific Rattlesnake deaths in Idyllwild

I was recently forwarded articles about 2 Idyllwild residents who just lost their dogs to a bite from a Southern Pacific rattlesnake.  The article focused on the fact that the needed antivenin was not available.  Read more on one woman’s efforts to make the antivenin locally available.

Copyright Michael Clarkson

Adult Southern Pacific Rattlesnake from Riverside County. Copyright Michael Clarkson. From the website: http://www.californiaherps.com

There are 6 rattlesnake species native to Southern California.

  • The Southern Pacific Rattlesnake,
  • Western Diamondback Rattlesnake,
  • Red diamond rattlesnake,
  • Speckled Rattlesnake,
  • Sidewinder, and
  • Mohave Green Rattlesnake

Many pet owners, including myself, opt to vaccinate their dogs against rattlesnake bites.  The rattlesnake vaccine available locally is created using the venom from the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, which causes many of the snake venom related fatalities in Southern California. Although the vaccine is manufactured using that specific venom, it provides partial immunity to bites from other commonly found venomous snake species in California including the Southern Pacific Rattlesnake, which killed the Idyllwild dogs.

It’s unclear to me why the antivenin is unavailable in Idyllwild, when it’s considered a local snake.  I’ll be asking my Cathedral City vet what’s available in the valley.

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