How does rabies affect my cat?
Rabies is a viral disease that is transmitted through saliva. The most common way to contract rabies is to be bit infected wildlife and some common symptoms of rabies in cats include
- Change in behaviour such as agitation and isolation
- Aggression toward humans and other animals
- Drooling caused by inability to swallow
- Loss of muscle control at late stages resulting in paralysis and coma
The virus has an incubation period that could last several weeks to almost a year. Unfortunately there is no test or cure for rabies once symptoms have appeared.
Why is the rabies vaccine so important?
Getting the rabies vaccine for you cat is vitally important, it could save their life and anyone they come in contact with. Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal. Your cats health will deteriorate within a few days. Many states require the euthanasia of unvaccinated animals exposed to animals suspected of being rabid because testing for rabies can only be performed once the animal has been euthanized.
These laws vary by region, contact your Mamaroneck veterinarian or local health department for additional information about the requirements and recommendations.
Does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated?
Yes. Giving your indoor cat the rabies vaccine protects them just as much as it protects outdoor cats. There is always a possibility that your fur baby will sneak out the front door as you're carrying in groceries, or a bat might make its way down your chimney or a squirrel might make its nest in your attic. Cat's are natural hunters and will take any opportunity to hunt wildlife if it happens to sneak into the house. The only way to ensure your pet is safe is to get your cat the rabies vaccine.
The cost to vaccinate your cat with the rabies vaccine can vary tremendously depending on the type of vaccine administered. A non-adjuvanted (reduced risk of skin reaction in cats) will cost more than an adjuvanted vaccine, and a 3-year vaccine will cost more than a 1-year vaccine. The price will also differ depending on if the vaccine was administered at a veterinary clinic or at a vaccine clinic. Regardless, the cost of preventative vaccination is nothing compared to the cost of euthanasia and the emotional loss of your beloved cat.
Side effects for the rabies vaccine for cats are rare, however in some cases it can cause symptoms such as
- Slight Fever
- Decreased appetite
- localized swelling at vaccine site
Symptoms often disappear within a few days. In extremely rare cases, cats can develop an allergic reaction to the vaccine resulting in
- Swelling of the face
Keep in mind, these symptoms are incredibly rare, effecting fewer than 10 cats out of 10,000 cats vaccinated. You need to closely monitor your cat for several hours after vaccination to be certain your cat wont have a reaction to the rabies vaccine and you can get your cat the help it needs quickly. It is very unlikely that your cat will die from the rabies vaccine as the side effects tend to be minor and are all treatable.
How often should a cat have a rabies vaccine?
The rabies vaccine for cats can either be a once a year vaccine, or once every 3 years. Consult with your veterinarian to decide which vaccine is right for your pet. Don't worry about forgetting your cats next dose, your vet will keep a record and remind you when your cats next rabies vaccine is scheduled.
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.