We are open M, T, W, F
and 2:30pm-6pm

Thursday & Saturday 8am-noon

Doctor's hours are by appointment.

To make an appointment, please call

1120 Maricopa Hwy.
Ojai, CA 93023




In Southern California, we have primarily Western Diamondbacks and Mojave Rattle Snakes. Many snakes have primarily hemotoxic poisons (making it difficult for the blood to clot), neurotoxic poisons (interfering with normal neurologic function) or a combination of both. There are two things that are very important to know if your pet is bitten by a Rattle Snake. One: DO NOT try to capture the snake, even if you feel you have killed it, as even dead snakes can strike and many people have been bitten themselves trying to pick up a rattle snake; Two: BRING YOUR PET TO A VETERINARY HOSPITAL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Carry it, if possible, to minimize exertion, as that can spread the venom faster. Try to keep them calm, if possible.

Baby Rattle Snakes do not control venom injection very well, so often it is more serious to be bitten by a baby Rattle Snake than an adult. Adult Rattle Snakes have the ability to control if they inject venom and if so, how much. It is not always possible to know how much venom was injected or even if any was injected initially. The most important things we can do for your pet is to give them antivenin and fluids and other supportive care. Unfortunately, it can be very expensive to treat these bites, and many people don’t want to spend the money for the antivenin. If we delay giving the antivenin until it is obvious we need to, the antivenin often does not work as well, since preventing the effects of the venom works better than trying to reverse the effects of the venom. Sometimes the bacteria injected by the fangs can be as serious as the venom, and antibiotics needs to be used as well.

How can you prevent snake bites? Most snakes don’t want a confrontation and will simply run away if possible. It is best for your dog to be on a leash when you are out hiking to minimize confrontations the snake cannot avoid.

There are snake avoidance classes that might help teach your dog to fear and stay away from snakes, but the results can be variable.

There is a vaccine available, but the ability of this vaccine to protect is unknown. The manufacturer will not share data with snake bite experts to evaluate what, if any, protection these vaccines provide. Even the manufacturer states it is still important to treat the pet the same as if it did not receive a vaccine, so the presumption is, if the vaccine has any effect at all, it just slows down the action of the venom, which would be a good thing if we were sure that actually happened.