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Cat Rabies Vaccine: Schedule, Cost, and Side Effects

Rabies is a serious life-threatening, yet entirely preventable disease that cats can experience. Our Thornton vets discuss what the cat rabies vaccine schedule looks like as well as what the cost and side effects associated with it are.

What is the Rabies Virus?

Rabies is a preventable disease that is caused by the bite of an infected wild animal such as a fox or raccoon.  Unfortunately, when an animal is diagnosed with rabies it is usually fatal for the animal.

The most common symptom of the disease in animals is an increase in aggressive behavior, and because of how easily this virus spread from animal to animal through saliva it is required in many states that all animals that have contracted this virus are euthanized in order to stop the spread.  All mammals are capable of catching rabies through the bite of an infected animal, so it's important to protect your pet with an anti-rabies vaccination.

What is the cost of rabies vaccinations for cats?

When it comes to the rabies vaccine the cost will vary depending on your vet and the clinic and the type of vaccine.

The most expensive vaccines will be the longer-lasting vaccines as well as those that are specially formulated with ingredients that are less likely to cause a reaction. The best course of action is to ask your vet about which rabies vaccine(s) they provide, and at what cost.  Your veterinarian can help guide you on what vaccination plan is right for your cat's health, as well as your own personal budget.

What does the cat rabies vaccination schedule look like?

The vaccination schedule for your cat will depend on the type of vaccine that your cat receives.  Most vets offer vaccines without adjuvants, which are certain ingredients that while they are effective against the rabies virus are also more likely to cause adverse actions in your cat.  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 last approximately a year and therefore will require yearly booster shots in order for them to continue to be effective.  Newer vaccines have been developed which require a single booster a year after the first vaccination, followed by boosters every three years after that, the downside is that these longer-lasting vaccines are much more expensive and so most vets and clients decide to stick with the older yearly vaccinations.  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 are ready to schedule your cat for their vaccinations contact Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital.

What are the possible reactions to the cat rabies vaccine?

One of the main things that our vets are asked about is the possible reactions to rabies vaccinations. These clients fear the worst when it comes to their beloved pets and need reassurance when it comes to their concerns with their pets. 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.

There are very rare cases in which cats may experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, potentially 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.

Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated?

Vaccinations are imperative to your cat's overall and long-term health by preventing various diseases from negatively affecting your cat.  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.  

Is your new kitten ready for their first set of vaccinations? Contact us today to talk with our vets about preventative veterinary care to help protect your cat.

New Patients Welcome

Caring Hands Veterinary Hospital is always accepting new patients! Our vets are passionate about providing kind and loving veterinary care to Thornton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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