Objective: To evaluate effectiveness of a commercially available toxoid manufactured from western diamondback (WD) rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) venom against envenomation of mice with WD, northern Pacific (NP) rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus), and southern Pacific (SP) rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) venom.
Animals: 90 specific pathogen-free female mice.
Procedures: Mice were allocated into 3 cohorts (30 mice/cohort). Mice received SC injections of C atrox toxoid (CAT) vaccine (n = 15/group) or adjuvant (15/group) at day 0 and again at 4 weeks. At 8 weeks, mice were challenge-exposed with 1 of 3 venoms. Survival until 48 hours was evaluated by use of log-rank analysis of survival curves and the z test for proportions.
Results: 6 of 15 WD-challenged CAT-vaccinated mice, 3 of 15 NP-challenged CAT-vaccinated mice, and 0 of 15 SP-challenged CAT-vaccinated mice survived until 48 hours. All adjuvant-only vaccinates survived ≤ 21 hours. Mean survival time of CAT vaccinates was longer than that of adjuvant-only vaccinates for all venoms (1,311 vs 368 minutes for WD, 842 vs 284 minutes for NP, and 697 vs 585 minutes for SP). Results of the z test indicated a significantly increased survival rate for vaccinates exposed to WD rattlesnake venom but not for vaccinates exposed to NP or SP rattlesnake venom. Log-rank analysis revealed a significant difference between survival curves of vaccinated versus unvaccinated mice exposed to NP but not WD or SP venom.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: CAT vaccination improved survival rate and survival time after challenge exposure with WD rattlesnake venom and may offer limited protection against NP rattlesnake venom but did not provide significant cross-protection against SP rattlesnake venom.