HomeHorse HealthRattlesnake Bites In Horses – What Every Horse Owner Needs To Know


Rattlesnake Bites In Horses – What Every Horse Owner Needs To Know — 10 Comments

  1. Had this happen to my mare about 10 years ago, but couldn't find the bite mark. she is now 22 years old.

  2. One of my horses was bit by a snake last fall, we are thinking water mocassin but not for sure.  Her reaction was much worse that what you described for your horse.  She was bit on the side of an upper lip; at first I just thought it was a hornet sting because I could only find one spot.  She spent at least 21 days on Benadryl, twice a day, was given a steroid shot and sloughed off the skin on all of her face, her neck, most of her chest and from her hip bones down her back legs.  It was quite the ordeal!  Now, nearly 10 months later it looks like she may have also lost some of her vision from it too.  She is having problems seeing things that she normally didn't have problems seeing.  The vet is going to give her a vision test a bit later in the summer. I'm just glad I found her when I did; I think less than 30 minutes after the bit occured. 

    • Wow, how scary!  We got really lucky with Spirit when he got bit.  The vet thinks it was a dry bite.  Speed is definitely of the essence when it comes to snake bites.  I hope that your horse continues to heal and show improvement. 



  3. Why did you not mention the equine rattlesnake bite vaccine?  What effect does that have on treatment after being bitten?

    • Hi Kelli,

      I did actually ask the equine veterinarian at the vet clinic where I worked at the time I wrote the article about the availability of a rattlesnake vaccine for my horses and he indicated that we did not have one available to us at that time (in our area).  I can’t remember the reason why we couldn’t get it.  So I did not pursue it further and assume that other people can’t get it as well, so focused on other more commonly accessible strategies for people to do. 

      In my experience with canine rattlesnake bites, dogs that have had the rattlesnake vaccine seem to have slightly less severe reactions to the bites, but still need immediate treatment by a veterinarian.  I have a friend whose dog is bitten quite a lot as they live in a heavily wooded and brushy area.  He’s had the vaccine, but still has to be hospitalized.  So in my opinion, while it can help, it is not a guarantee against serious and life threatening reactions. 



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