Rabies is a very dangerous and deadly virus for cats and other pets that thankfully can be prevented. In this blog, our Kinston vets share everything you need to know about the rabies vaccine for cats and why it's important to have your kitty vaccinated.
The Ways Rabies Can Spread
Raccoons, bats, foxes, and skunks are the animals most responsible for the spread of the rabies virus in North America.
Because the rabies virus is transmitted through saliva and causes heightened aggression in infected animals, cats most often get rabies from being bitten by another infected animal.
Since rabies also poses a serious risk to the health of humans, the majority of states require all pets that have been infected with the rabies virus to be euthanized. All mammals have the potential to catch rabies through being bitten by an infected animal, making it very important to make sure your cat is always up to date with their rabies vaccines, so they can stay protected.
Unvaccinated cats don't have a good prognosis after catching rabies, because for them it is usually fatal.
The Cost of the Cat Rabies Vaccine
The cost of the rabies vaccination for your cats will vary depending on where you live and which vet you go to. The type of rabies vaccine your kitty is given will also play a factor in the cost.
Longer-lasting vaccines, as well as vaccines with a smaller number of potential side effects, are typically much more expensive. Contact your vet to find out which rabies vaccine they use for cats and exactly how much your kitty's vaccinations will cost. Your vet can help guide you on what vaccination plan is right for your cat's health, as well as your own personal budget.
Rabies Vaccine Schedule for Cats
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, some veterinarians have decided to continue using the older vaccine technology. Ask your vet how often your cat should be getting the rabies vaccine, they will be able to inform you of the vaccination options they have available and which schedule will work best for your feline friend.
Kittens should start being given their rabies vaccinations when they are approximately 12 weeks old. If you haven't already done so, don't hesitate to schedule all of your cat's routine vaccinations and preventive care at Five Oaks Animal Hospital today.
Potential Side Effects of the Cat Rabies Vaccine
It's common for cat owners to be worried about the potential side effects their cats can develop after being given their rabies vaccination. Cat owners often ask our Kinston vets about stories they have heard regarding "cats that have died from rabies vaccine". Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. It's very rare for cats to experience any reaction to the rabies vaccine and when they do arise it generally only consists of lethargy, localized swelling at the vaccination site, lack of appetite, or/and a mild fever.
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 Vaccinate Your Indoor Cat Against Rabies
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.