How Rabies Spreads
Bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes are the most common carriers of the rabies virus in North America.
This virus is spread through saliva and causes heightened aggression in animals suffering from its symptoms. The most common way for cats to become infected with rabies is through the bite of an infected animal.
Rabies poses a severe risk to human health, which is why pets diagnosed with rabies must be euthanized by law in most US states. All mammals can catch rabies through the bite of an infected animal. This is why it's extremely important to protect your pet by always keeping their rabies vaccinations up to date.
The prognosis is poor for unvaccinated cats, as the infection is most often fatal.
Cat Rabies Vaccine - Cost
The cost of rabies vaccination can vary widely from city to city, state to state, and even from one veterinarian to another in the same locality. One key determinant of cost is the type of rabies vaccine used.
Longer-lasting vaccines, in addition to vaccines with a smaller amount of potential side effects, are typically much more expensive. Contact your vet and ask which rabies vaccine they use for cats and exactly how much your feline friend's vaccinations will cost. Your vet can advise you on the most suitable vaccination plan for your cat's health - and your personal budget.
Cat Rabies Vaccine - Schedule
The schedule for your kitty's rabies vaccination will vary depending on the brand of vaccine used.
Most vets offer vaccines without adjuvants - ingredients that proved effective in preventing rabies but caused an allergic reaction in some cats. These vaccines may or may not be more expensive than vaccines with adjuvants, which are just as effective at preventing rabies but have a higher potential for causing rare side effects, depending on the individual veterinary practice and any existing state legislation on rabies vaccination in cats.
Older non-adjuvant vaccines only lasted for a year, and so yearly booster shots were required. Newer vaccines have been developed which require a single booster a year after the first vaccination, followed by boosters every three years after that; these vaccines are considerably more expensive, however, so some veterinarians opt to stick with the older vaccine technology. If you ask your vet "how often should my cat have a rabies vaccine?" they will be able to tell you about what vaccination options they offer and what schedule is best for your cat.
Kittens should begin their rabies vaccination treatment at about 12 weeks old. If you haven't already, you can schedule your cat for all their routine vaccinations and other preventative care at Companion Pet Clinic of Arizona.
Possible Cat Reaction to Rabies Vaccine
Cat owners often have concerns about the possible side effects their cat could experience following their rabies vaccination. Pet Parents sometimes come to our Gold Canyon vets concerned about stories they have heard about "cats who have died from rabies vaccine". Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. Cat rabies vaccine side effects are rare and typically include only slight fever, lethargy, decreased appetite, and/or a localized swelling at the vaccine site.
In some excessively rare cases, a cat can have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, leading to hives, extreme weakness, and unexplained collapse. It's important for pet parents to know that fewer than 0.001% of cats will have allergic side effects to modern rabies vaccines. It is always safer to have your cat vaccinated against rabies than to risk potential infection in the future.
Why Your Indoor Cat Needs Their Rabies Vaccine
Cat owners might believe vaccination against rabies is unnecessary if their cat is an indoor cat, but this is not the case. While it might be true that you don't allow your cat outside your home, the potential for escape--or worse, for an infected bat or rodent to break into your home, is great enough to warrant protection for your feline companion.
The consequences of rabies are simply too dire to take any chances, the best and only way to ensure your cat is completely protected against rabies is vaccination.
It is also the case that in most US states all cats and dogs over the age of 6 months are required to be vaccinated against rabies. When you take your pet to be vaccinated your vet will be sure to issue you with a certificate of vaccination as proof that your feline friend is up to date with their rabies vaccine.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.