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3 Year Rabies Vaccine For Cats

How Often Do Cats Need To Get A Rabies Vaccine

Cat rabies vaccine

There are a number of different brands of rabies vaccines for cats available on the market, and each brand comes with manufacturer guidelines that must be adhered to by the administering veterinarian.

The major differences between feline rabies vaccines are whether they contain an adjuvant or not.

Older vaccines contained materials called adjuvants, which act to boost the immune response to the vaccine. These vaccines worked very well to prevent disease, but in a very small numbers of cats, they were linked to the development of both local reactions and much more serious problems, like growths at the site of the vaccine.

Most veterinarians have now changed to the non-adjuvanted form of the rabies vaccine for cats. Originally, this vaccine was only released as a one-year vaccine. That meant that starting at the age of 12 weeks, a cat would need to receive the vaccine annually to ensure protection from the disease.

Recently, however, a non-adjuvanted three-year vaccine has been made available to veterinarians. This vaccine is only given once every three years after the initial one-year booster.

It is relatively expensive, so many veterinarians still prefer to use the annual form of the non-adjuvanted vaccine.

Rabies Vaccine Reaction In Cats

If your cat develops any of the following symptoms within a few hours of getting the rabies vaccine, call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital:

  • Facial swelling

If your cat experiences an allergic reaction to the rabies vaccine, it doesnt automatically mean she cant ever be vaccinated again.

Your veterinarian will work with you to determine a plan for future rabies vaccines, such as giving the rabies vaccine separately from other vaccines, administering a medication prior to giving the rabies vaccines to prevent a reaction or, in some cases, not giving the vaccine again.

Feline injection-site sarcomas can also occur with any vaccine, including the rabies vaccine.

FISSs are rare, occurring in approximately 1 out of every 10,000 to 30,000 vaccinations. FISSs are cancerous tumors that develop at the injection site months or even years later. If you find a lump where your cat got her rabies shot, contact your veterinarian immediately. Although most lumps do not go on to become FISSs, your veterinarian will closely monitor it to make sure it goes away on its own.

Rabies vaccines are something many cats need, either due to the law or the cats individual risk. Cat owners should talk to their veterinarians to find out if their cat needs a rabies vaccine, and how often rabies booster vaccinations are needed.

Overdue For Rabies Vaccine Booster

A. When is an animal considered to be overdue? In Tennessee, the appropriate interpretation of this is that a dog/cat is considered overdue even if 1 day overdue for a booster dose.

B. What is the re-vaccination protocol for the overdue pet? – Which Vaccine?

In Tennessee, a veterinarian has the discretion to use a 1-year or a 3-Year rabies vaccine when administering booster doses to any dog/cat that is overdue.

– When is the next dose due? There is no specific requirement stipulated by TN lawthe interval is based on product label .

C. Following re-vaccination, when is the overdue animal considered currently vaccinated? TN law refers to the Compendium, which states an animal is considered currently vaccinated immediately following a booster, even if previously overdue.

NOTE: Guidance offered in the Compendium does not stipulate unique vaccination requirements based on the duration since the last dose of rabies vaccine was administered. All overdue animals are managed in the same way.

IMPORTANT: pets that are overdue, even if by only 1 day, for a scheduled booster dose of rabies will be considered a NON-vaccinate if the animal is involved in a human bite incident or if the pet is determined to have been exposed to a confirmed or suspected rabid animal.

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Vaccines For Cats And Dogs

Does your cat or dog need all of those vaccines every year? There is no easy answer to that question, but our veterinarians can help you decide the best vaccination protocol for your pet. Below is a summary of vaccine requirements and options:

Rabies shots for Cats and Dogs: Rabies Shots are required by New Jersey state law for all dogs and cats, even those who are primarily indoor or indoor only. The first Rabies vaccine is good for one year. Each vaccine after that is good for 3 years.

For cats, there is a new Rabies vaccine that must be given yearly, but has a decreased risk of side effects . If you are interested in the PureVax Rabies vaccine for your cat, please talk to your veterinarian at your next visit.

If your pet has a bite wound of unknown origin or a bite wound from an animal with an unknown Rabies vaccine status, your pets Rabies vaccine should be boostered ASAP, even if he/she is currently up to date.


  • DA2PP: Often called the distemper vaccine, the DA2PP vaccine is a combo vaccine protecting against canine distemper virus, parvovirus, parainfluenza, and adenovirus. After the puppy series, this vaccine is usually given every 1 to 3 years. Talk to your veterinarian about the best protocol for your dog.


  • Call 609-486-5025 for immediate assistance.

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Purevax Feline Rabies 3 Yr

Rx Nobivac 3


DESCRIPTION: PUREVAX® Feline Rabies 3 YR contains a nonadjuvanted lyophilized suspension of a recombinant vectored rabies vaccine plus a sterile water diluent. A canarypox vector has been modified, using recombinant technology, to produce expression of desired antigens capable of stimulating a protective immune response to rabies. Safety and immunogenicity of this product have been demonstrated by vaccination and challenge tests in susceptible cats.

INDICATIONS: PUREVAX® Feline Rabies 3 YR is recommended for the vaccination of healthy cats 12 weeks of age and older for prevention of disease due to rabies virus.

DOSAGE: Reconstitute the lyophilized vaccine with accompanying liquid diluent and aseptically inject 1 mL subcutaneously into healthy cats. Revaccinate 1 year after first vaccination, then every 3 years.

PRECAUTIONS: Store at 2-7°C . Use immediately after reconstitution. Do not use chemicals to sterilize syringes and needles. Burn this container and all unused contents. Contains gentamicin as a preservative. It is generally recommended to avoid vaccination of pregnant cats. In rare instances, administration of vaccines may cause lethargy, fever, and inflammatory or hypersensitivity types of reactions. Treatment may include antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, and/or epinephrine.


PUREVAX is a registered trademark of MERIAL.

Manufactured By MERIAL INC., Athens, GA 30601 USA

U.S. Vet. Lic. No. 298



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How Often Should Booster Vaccinations Be Given

In the past, veterinarians recommended booster vaccinations for cats on a yearly basis. However, as we learn more about, and improve vaccines, recommendations regarding booster frequency continue to evolve. The appropriate interval for boosters will vary with individual lifestyle.

“If your cat is at higher risk for exposure to a disease, the more frequent vaccination schedule may be recommended.”

Most adult cats that received the full booster series of vaccines as kittens should be re-vaccinated every one to three years based on a lifestyle risk assessment. That is, if your cat is at higher risk for exposure to a disease, the more frequent vaccination schedule may be recommended. It is important to thoroughly discuss your cat’s lifestyle with your veterinarian and determine the appropriate vaccinations and vaccination schedule for your cat.

The AAFP vaccination guidelines recommend that low-risk adult cats be vaccinated every three years for the corevaccines, and then as determined by your veterinarian for any non-core vaccines. Some vaccine manufacturers have developed approved three-year vaccines for many of the core vaccines. It is important to note that feline leukemia virus vaccine is recommended by some AAFP members as a core vaccine, while other experts classify it as a non-core vaccine. Your veterinarian is the ultimate authority on how your cat should be vaccinated.

Rabies Vaccinations For Indoor Cats

You asked:I have gotten mixed information about rabies vaccine times. Should you vaccinate an indoor cat once a year after the booster or every 3 years?

Dr. Diaz Answered: Great question! Rabies vaccination is an important and required vaccine for all cats. A common misconception is that indoor cats are not required to maintain updated vaccines as they do not have exposure to the outdoors or other animals. In fact, rabies vaccinations are required by law in all felines.

Kittens are generally vaccinated once around 4 months of age or within their first year of life. This vaccine is valid for 1 year after its first administration. After this, cats are eligible for a 1 year or a 3 year vaccine. Here at Friendship, we like to administer the 3 year rabies vaccine on its own and to cats under the age of 9 years old, to ensure that no vaccination reactions occur due to the mild increase in antigenic stimulation. All vaccines recommendations are made based on each individual patient, their medical history, and physical exams. We always enjoy providing owners with information regarding vaccinations and care for indoor and outdoor cats. Please feel free to contact your Friendship Primary Care Doctor to see what vaccines might be best for you cat!

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All Of The Risk No Benefit

In 2009, Alabama became the last state to allow dog owners to vaccinate their dogs every three years instead of annually. Dr. Dee Jones, Alabama Public Health Veterinarian states that veterinarians may use rabies vaccine in accordance to its label in a letter written to state vets. The state is now recognizing and accepting the use of a three-year vaccine that is labeled for such, he wrote. However, it is worth belaboring that the state is not mandating the use of three-year vaccine. The decision to use a one-year or a three-year rabies vaccine lies entirely with the veterinarian and the animal owner.

Despite Dr. Schultzs efforts at educating veterinarians, your veterinarian is allowed to inject your dog annually with what is essentially a three year vaccine. This means he gets all of the risk and none of the benefit. Before you give your vet the benefit of the doubt when he urges you to vaccinate annually, consider what Dr. Schultz has to say about how well most veterinarians understand immunity.

Vaccines And Sarcomas: A Concern For Cat Owners

Kitten tests positive for rabies

Vaccines can lessen the severity of future diseases and certain vaccines can prevent infection altogether, and today, a variety of vaccines are available for use by veterinarians. Any treatment carries some risk, but these risks should be weighed against the benefits of protecting your pet from potentially fatal diseases. An uncommon but serious adverse reaction that can occur with injection sites, including those sites where vaccines are administered, is tumor growth , which can develop weeks, months, or even years after a vaccination.

Although the risk of feline injection-site sarcomas is small, progress has been made over the years to help reduce that risk even further. There are some helpful resources, such as the American Association of Feline Practitioners Guidelines, that reflect recommendations on vaccinating cats in consideration of the cats specific needs, local epidemiologic factors, and in line with manufacturer directions. And today, veterinarians and owners alike expect vaccine labels to reflect accurate revaccination needs. Much of what is commonplace today was recommended by a Task Force that studied this issue and produced a report in 2001:

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What Are The Side Effects Of Rabies Vaccines In Cats

Fortunately, reactions to vaccines are very uncommon in cats. In fact, side effects of rabies vaccines in cats are very rare. When they do happen, they include slight fever, lethargy, decreased appetite and a localized swelling at the vaccine site.

These rabies vaccine side effects usually disappear within a few days.

In extremely rare cases, cats may develop an allergic reaction to the vaccine, which includes hives, swelling of the face and itchiness.

Severe reaction can include weakness and collapse. Keep in mind that these reactions are extremely rare allergic reactions occur in fewer than 10 cats out of each 10,000 cats vaccinated.

What To Do If You Notice Rabies Vaccine Side Effects

Loss of energy for a day or two, mild fever, mild soreness and temporary loss of appetite all signal that the vaccine is doing what it’s supposed to stimulating the immune system. If you notice these signs, let your dog rest, shower them with tender, loving care and monitor them for a couple of days. If you’re ever worried that your dog might be in pain, call your vet and ask for advice. They may prescribe pain medicine to help your dog feel better.

If you’re ever worried, don’t hesitate to call your vet. In general, however, it’s not necessary to contact the vet unless:

  • The mild, expected side effects worsen or continue longer than a few days
  • Your dog develops swelling at the injection site that’s hot or painful, is weeping, gets larger or doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks
  • Your dog develops any severe or abnormal reactions

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Rabies Vaccines Every Year Seriously

Heres a question I often get: Why do pets have to be vaccinated every year for rabies? Is there really a medical reason for this, or is this regulatory overreaching at the expense of our pets?

After all, humans are often vaccinated only once for certain “bugs” and remain immune to the particular disease they cause for life. Why is it not the same for animals?

The main reason people ask this is because theyve heard or read of negative reactions to rabies vaccines in some pets. They assume this product is less safe than theyre led to believe by veterinarians and regulatory agencies, and theyre worried for their petsparticularly those who might suffer from chronic conditions or at very low risk of actually coming across a rabies infected animal.

Truth be told, rabies vaccines are considered very safe. Nonetheless, the reality is uncomfortable: more pets actually die of the consequences of being vaccinated than come down with the virus.

Having said that, you might wonder how its possible for me, or any veterinarian, to defend the use of this vaccine. But if you think about it, this scary-sounding reality is likely the case with all successful vaccines. After all, the goal of a vaccine is to render a disease so rare that very few animals are ever even exposed to it.

I Do Not Recommend That Any Cat Receive Subsequent Boosters Any More Often Than Every Three Years

Nobivac 3

Additionally, when public health and safety are at risk, county or district health departments may order all dogs, cats, other pet animals, or other mammals in the county or district to be vaccinated against rabies. A licensed veterinarian or a licensed veterinary technician under the immediate and direct supervision of a veterinarian must administer the vaccine. Dogs and cats that are vaccinated with a rabies vaccine whose label recommends a booster 1 year later and triennially thereafter shall be revaccinated within 12 months of the first vaccination and shall be revaccinated within 36 months of each vaccination thereafter.

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What Is The Difference Between The Various Types Of Vaccine

There are three major types of vaccine:

1. Modified live vaccines. These vaccines contain live organisms that are weakened or genetically modified so that they will not produce disease but will multiply in the cat’s body. Live vaccines induce a stronger, longer lasting immunity than inactivated vaccines. It is not advisable to use modified live vaccines in pregnant queens or cats whose immune system is not working properly , or other diseases).

2. Killed vaccines. These vaccines are prepared using actual organisms or genetically modified organisms that have been killed by various treatments. On their own, they do not give as high a level of protection as the live, replicating type of vaccine, so killed vaccines may have an adjuvant to make the immune response stronger.

3. Subunit vaccines. These are more commonly called recombinant-DNA vaccines. These are vaccines in which the infectious organism has been broken apart and only certain parts are included in the vaccine.

“Some vaccines are intranasal but the majority are given by injection.”

Many vaccines come as combinations, so that protection against more than one disease is achieved in a single injection or administration. Some vaccines are intranasal , but the majority are given by injection. Your veterinarian will advise you on the most appropriate vaccines for your cat.

New Rabies Vaccine For Cats

Merial, Ltd. has released a new rabies vaccine for cats, apparently in response to veterinarian and owner concerns about the safety of added adjuvants, substances that are intended to increase the immune response mounted by a cat after receiving a vaccine. The new formulation, used in their line of PUREVAX® vaccines, purports to provide protection from the rabies virus for three years without the help of adjuvants that were used in earlier formulations of the vaccine.

Adjuvants have been the source of significant controversy since they were implicated as a potential cause of feline injection-site sarcomas , a type of cancer that may occur at the site of injections in cats. Although the relationship between adjuvants and FISS remains the subject of ongoing debate and research, it seems prudent to avoid the use of adjuvants in feline vaccines, provided that these new non-adjuvanted vaccines offer protection that is comparable to similar vaccines formulated with adjuvants. Until now, non-adjuvanted rabies vaccines for cats only provided one-year protection from rabies infection.

We recommend that you discuss this new vaccine option with your veterinarian and fully understand your options.

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Rabies Vaccination Side Effects

The rabies vaccine, although extremely safe, does carry some risk of side effects.

Some common side effects of the rabies vaccineand other vaccines like FPV, FCV, and FeLVinclude:

  • Discomfort at the vaccination site
  • Swelling or a lump at the vaccination site
  • Low-grade fever
  • Lack of appetite

Rarely, cats may experience more serious side effects to the rabies vaccine. Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, can cause life-threatening symptoms.


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