While the rabies virus is especially dangerous for cats, it is entirely preventable. Our vets in Westport explain the costs, scheduling and side effects related to getting your cat vaccinated against rabies.
The Rabies Virus & How it Spreads
Most often found in wild animals such as foxes, raccoons and skunks, rabies is a serious disease that can result in a devastating prognosis for unvaccinated cats. For our feline friends, this infection is most often fatal.
Animals suffering from the effects of rabies will commonly display signs of heightened aggression. Most states require pets diagnosed with Rabies to be put down since the disease spreads easily through saliva. All mammals are capable of catching rabies via the bite of an infected animal, so it's essential to protect your pet with an anti-rabies vaccine.
Cat Rabies Vaccine Cost
The type of vaccine used is often a large factor in how much a rabies vaccination will cost.
Vaccines that last longer, in addition to vaccines with a shorter list of potential side effects, are much more expensive — your best bet is to ask your veterinarian which rabies vaccine(s) they offer, and at what cost. Your vet can help you decide on the right vaccination plan based on your cat's health, as well as your own personal budget.
Cat Rabies Vaccine Schedule
The brand of vaccine used will often dictate the schedule when it comes to rabies vaccination in cats. Most vets offer vaccines with no adjuvants — ingredients that have proven effective in preventing rabies but are known to cause an allergic reaction in some cats.
These vaccines may or may not be more expensive than vaccines with adjuvants, which effectively prevent rabies but have a higher potential to cause 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.
Cats can begin their rabies vaccination treatment at 12 weeks old. If you haven't already, you can schedule your cat for all their routine vaccinations and other preventive care at Poster Veterinary Associates.
Cat Reaction to Rabies Vaccine
Cat owners often have concerns about the cat rabies vaccine having side effects. They will tell our Westport vets that they don't want to have to tell their family that their "cat died from rabies vaccine". Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. 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 should be known that fewer than 0.001% of cats will have allergic side effects to modern rabies vaccines. It is always safer to get your cat vaccinated than to test one's luck against potential rabies infection in the future.
Indoor Cats and Rabies Vaccination
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 too dire to take any chances with, the best and only way to ensure your cat is completely protected against rabies is vaccination.
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.