Rabies vaccines for cats

Rabies is one of the most deadly yet easily preventable viruses for cats. Our Enterprise vets talk about everything involved with your cat receiving the rabies vaccine.

The Rabies Virus and How it Spreads

If your cat happens to come into contact with a wild animal such as a skunk or fox, there is a chance that it could contract the rabies virus. Unfortunately, in unvaccinated cats, contracting the rabies virus is often fatal.  

The rabies virus typically causes excessive aggression as the virus works its way through the body. Because of this, most US states require pets diagnosed with rabies to be put down due to the ease of the disease spreading through saliva and the fact that all mammals are capable of contracting rabies. Having your cat vaccinated is the most effective and only way to guarantee protection against this disease

Cat Rabies Vaccine Cost

The cost of rabies vaccination varies tremendously between different veterinarians, based in large part on what type of vaccine they use.

Vaccines that are longer-lasting and have fewer possible side effects will typically be more expensive. Your vet will be able to discuss all of the different vaccine options that are available as well as what the costs associated will be. Your veterinarian can help guide you on what vaccination plan is right for your cat's health, as well as your own personal budget.

Cat Rabies Vaccine Schedule

The brand of vaccine that your cat receives will determine what the vaccination schedule will be. Most vets offer vaccines without adjuvants, which are ingredients that have been proven effective in preventing rabies but have also been known to cause an allergic reaction in some cats.  These vaccines can be more expensive than vaccines with adjuvants, which are equally as effective at preventing rabies but also have a higher potential for causing rare side effects, depending on both the veterinarian and the state in which the vaccine is being administered. 

In the past, non-adjuvant vaccines were only effective for about a year and so annual booster shots were necessary.  Newer vaccines now only require a single booster a year after initial vaccination, followed by boosters every three years after that; however, some veterinarians opt to stick with the older vaccine technology as these newer vaccines are typically much more expensive.  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.

Cat Reaction to Rabies Vaccine

Our vets here in Enterprise understand the concerns that cat owners might have when it comes to the side effects of vaccinations. Thankfully, side effects are incredibly 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.

If your cat is experiencing severe side effects please contact us and bring your cat in for immediate emergency care. 

Indoor Cats and Rabies Vaccination

While most cat owners might feel as though vaccination against rabies is unnecessary because their cat is an indoor cat, this is not the case.  Perhaps you don't allow your cat outside your home but the potential for escape--or worse, for an infected animal to make its way into your home, should be more than enough to warrant protection for your feline companion.

The best protection for your cat against the potentially fatal rabies virus is to ensure that they have been fully protected through rabies vaccinations.

Is your cat or kitten ready to receive its first rabies vaccine? Our vets at West Gate Veterinary Hospital focus on preventative veterinary care as a means of protecting your cat's long-term health. Contact us today