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I got an e-mail today and thought I would pass along the information. I'm not completely clear on things 100% but what I do understand is that basically more and more rattlesnakes have begun making neurotoxins (which only 1 species of rattlesnake was known to make previously) which poses a bigger risk to people and pets. Here are some of the links they forwarded and the original e-mail note from a DVM.

CBS

PubMed

National Wildlife Federation

Date: August 12, 2010
Subject: Rattlesnake information - warning

Better to be aware.

I've been seeing this and telling people for about 15 years up here. Lost
3 adult horses to neurotoxic bites. The Pacific rattlers have apparently
interbred with a neurotoxic species ( mojave?) and I have experienced not
only the no warning (no rattling) but extra aggressive behaviour early in the
season. I don't think the snake vaccine for dogs protects much against this
species. I consider every rattler dangerous and possibly having
neurotoxin. At first it seemed mostly the black diamondbacks, but other rosey/red
/tan colored ones have been neurotoxic too. Fred Za**** DVM

Read all the links
Please note:

A dog was recently bitten in Garner Valley by a Southern Pacific
rattlesnake. The treating veterinarian noted that the venom was neurotoxic and
insisted that the snake had been a Mojave Green. The dog's owner, however,
has a degree in herpetology and knew positively that the bite came from a
Southern Pacific rattler.

The dog developed none of the symptoms associated with hemotoxins; there
was no swelling at all. Despite the injection of three vials of antivenom,
the dog died.

The dominant species in the San Jacinto Mts (above the pinyon line) is the
Southern Pacific. A recent study detected neurotoxins in a 25% of 25
samples. It has also been noted that the species seldom rattles. I have
personally removed four Southern Pacific rattlesnakes from my property in
recent years; not a single one sounded the characteristic warning rattle.

These developments indicate that the Southern Pacific rattler is far more
dangerous than previously thought. The bite is becoming "supertoxic".

George Service
Please note I don't have any proof of anything but just thought I would send this along for people to do some of their own research on it too. No rattlesnake is particularly safe but its always better to know the dangers and be aware of what species are common in your area and to have an idea of where and how to find them in order to avoid them. I'm just hoping that everyone here knows to keep their eye on their dogs at all times when hiking or playing in rattlesnake areas.
 

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I know that the mojave rattler is luckily less likely to inject venom on a bite than other rattlers. It would be scary to think that snakes with a high likelihood of injecting venom are now getting this neurotoxin.

Does anyone know for sure if this neurotoxin is why the rattlesnake vaccine is not effective against the mojave rattler? I know we were considering the vaccine but leaning towards not getting it and finally made the decision when the vet told us it was not effective towards the mojave rattler. They would be the most common rattler for us to come into contact with in many of the areas we hike.

It would be useful for people to know when considering vaccinating or not.
 

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Gosh do I hate being ignorant :\ I never knew there were vaccines protecting dogs from snake bites :( We don't have rattlesnakes around my areas, but a lot of vipers and constrictors. I wonder if they have shots for these.
 
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