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How Often Should Cats Get Rabies Shots

Can Rabies Shots Make Cats Sick

Cat rabies vaccine

Like all vaccines, the rabies vaccine has potential side effects. The most common side effects seen in cats include lethargy, decreased appetite, mild fever, and a localized swelling at the injection site. These side effects are rare and usually resolve within a few days.

Previous forms of the rabies vaccine contained adjuvants, which are ingredients used to produce a stronger immune response, and they were linked to tumors called feline injection site sarcomas in a small number of cases. Most veterinary clinics have switched to using non-adjuvanted rabies vaccines to reduce the risk of injection site sarcoma, and the American Veterinary Medical Association states that they only occur in about 1 case per 10,000-30,000 vaccinations. If your cat has a lump at the site of injection that does not resolve within 2-3 weeks, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have it examined.

There is an extremely low risk of an allergic reaction with any vaccine given to your cat. If your cat shows signs such as facial swelling, skin rash, hives, itchiness, or difficulty breathing after receiving a vaccination, you should seek veterinary care immediately.

Although no vaccine is 100% safe, the benefits of the rabies vaccine far outweigh the risks due to the severity of the disease and the potential consequences of not vaccinating your cat.

Why Should I Have My Animals Vaccinated

  • Vaccinating pets prevents them from getting rabies and is one of the most effective ways in preventing rabies exposure in people.
  • If your dog, cat, or ferret is not vaccinated, and is bitten by a stray or wild animal, the pet needs to be confined and observed for six months. This strict confinement of a pet could cost a significant amount of money and could harm the animal physiologically. If the pet develops signs of rabies while in confinement, it must be euthanized to be tested for rabies.
  • The health risk, stress, and financial burden of a pet potentially being exposed to rabies are significantly less if the pet is vaccinated. Rabies vaccines for pets are an inexpensive way to protect people and other animals. It is worth spending a few dollars to vaccinate your pet instead of spending thousands of dollars on confinement and the potential tragedy of losing your pet.

What If My Cat Has Never Been Vaccinated

The kitten should also get their booster shots a year later. If you have an adult cat who has never been vaccinated, you’ll need to talk to your vet. The vet will advise you on the best vaccines for your fur baby after considering their age, lifestyle, breed, location, and pre existing medical conditions.

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Do Indoor Cats Need To Be Vaccinated Against Rabies

You might think that if your purry pal is an indoor cat, they dont need to be vaccinated, especially against rabies. However, we all know that accidents happen, and if your little furry Houdini were to get out, they would be at risk. Therefore, its a good idea for indoor and outdoor cats to get regular rabies shots. In fact, in some US states, it is the law for all cats to be vaccinated against the deadly disease, regardless of whether they live indoors or out.

How Long Is A Rabies Vaccine Good For In A Dog

How Often Should A Cat Get A Rabies Shot

Dogs should receive their first rabies vaccine at 14 weeks of age. This is typically given during a puppy vaccine visit, in which your dog may also receive other vaccine boosters. Read a vets guide to puppy shots for more information on puppy vaccinations.

A dogs initial rabies vaccine is good for one year. A year later, you will return to your veterinarian for a booster rabies vaccine . Your dogs second rabies vaccine may be good for either one or three years, depending on the vaccine manufacturers recommendations and local pet licensing requirements.

As for how to pay for the vaccine, you may be wondering, does pet insurance cover vaccines? It depends. Some pet insurance companies cover preventative care, including vaccines. Many policies, however, only provide coverage for illnesses and injuries. Research your pet insurance policy carefully, so there are no unexpected surprises when seeking veterinary care for your puppy.

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How Often Do Cats Need Vaccines

Cats first start their initial vaccinations at 8 weeks old although kittens can get the FVRCP vaccine as early as 6 weeks old, according to the American Animal Hospital Association .

Many owners choose to stagger vaccines so their kittens dont get FELV and the combo shot at the same time, Dr. Eldredge said.

Regardless of whether you decide to get your cats first shots staggered or at the same time, hell need to receive a few doses before his initial vaccination is complete.

According to Dr. Eldredge, your cat will need additional vaccine doses every three to four weeks until hes 16 to 20 weeks old.

What Exactly Are Cat Vaccinations

A vaccination is an injection of a mixture of molecules that will help stimulate an immune response to a specific disease. A common one would be the rabies vaccine. In the rabies vaccine, there are parts of the rabies virus, not the entire virus. It’s not an active or live virus, but parts of the virus that we inject along with other chemicals into your cat to help them start to build antibodies, to protect them against exposure to rabies, and keep them safe. We also have vaccines for many different diseases in cats. There is the feline leukemia vaccine and what we call the distemper vaccine, a combination of several diseases that can cause feline distemper and various respiratory diseases.

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When Should My Kitten Receive Their First Shots

You should bring your kitten to see your vet for their first round of vaccinations when they are about six to eight weeks old. Following this, your kitten should get a series of vaccines at three-to-four week intervals until they reach approximately 16 weeks old.

Kitten Vaccination Schedule

First visit

  • Review nutrition and grooming
  • Blood test for feline leukemia
  • Fecal exam for parasites
  • Vaccinations for chlamydia, calicivirus, rhinotracheitis and panleukopenia

Second visit

  • Examination and external check for parasites
  • First feline leukemia vaccine
  • Second vaccinations for calicivirus rhinotracheitis, and panleukopenia
  • First feline leukemia vaccine

Third visit

  • Second feline leukemia vaccine

Rabies Vaccinations For Indoor Cats

Crazy History Lesson: How the Rabies Vaccine Came to Be | National Geographic

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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Schedule For Cat Rabies Vaccine

Cat rabies vaccines are given on a schedule that will vary depending on the brand of vaccine that your vet uses and will either be every year or every three years. Your vet will let you know how often your cat should have a rabies vaccine.

Most vets offer vaccines without adjuvants – ingredients that proved effective in preventing rabies but caused an allergic reaction in some cats. 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 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.

Kittens should begin their rabies vaccination treatment at about 12 weeks old. If you haven’t already, you can schedule your cat for all their routine vaccinations and other preventative care at Valencia Veterinary Center.

Possible Side Effects & Cat Reaction To Rabies Vaccine

Cat owners often have concerns about the possible side effects their cat could experience following their rabies vaccination. Pet Parents sometimes come to our Santa Clarita vets concerned about stories they have heard about “cats who have died from rabies vaccine”. Fortunately, these fears are unfounded. Cat rabies vaccine 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’s important for pet parents to know that fewer than 0.001% of cats will have allergic side effects to modern rabies vaccines. It is always safer to have your cat vaccinated against rabies than to risk potential infection in the future.

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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.

How Do I Prevent Fleas On My Kitten

How Often Do You Get Rabies Shots For Cats

No matter where you live, fleas may be a threat to your kitten and to your household. Fleas spend a short time on your kitten and then venture out into your home. Adult fleas feed on the cats blood, then hop off their host to lay eggs in the environment. Eggs hatch and the emerging larvae live and feed in your home. Larvae mature into pupae which lie dormant in your carpets, furniture, and floorboards. The pupae eventually hatch into adult fleas. The entire flea life cycle can take as little as 3-4 weeks under ideal conditions in unfavorable conditions, the cycle can take as long as a year. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new kitten before they can become established in your home.

“Many of the flea control products that are safe on dogs are dangerous for kittens.”

Many of the flea control products that are safe on dogs are dangerous for kittens, so consult your veterinarian before choosing a flea control product. There are many safe oral and topical medications that control fleas, treat intestinal worms, and prevent heartworms all at the same time. These products are administered once a month, even in young kittens, and will protect both your cat and your home from fleas. Newer flea prevention products last 3-8 months. For more information on flea control, see the handout Flea Control in Cats.

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What Are The Core Vaccinations

Feline experts agree that there are four major vaccinations that all cats need to receive:

  • Rabies: Required by law in nearly all states, this shot protects your cats against the serious viral infection passed most often through bites.
  • Calcivirus: A highly contagious and common virus that can cause upper respiratory infection in cats. This can lead to sneezing, conjunctivitis, gum sores and lameness.
  • Feline herpesvirus: Another extremely contagious virus spread through sharing of litter trays, food bowls and the inhalation of sneeze droplets, this is a major cause of upper respiratory infections.
  • Panleukopenia : A potentially lethal virus that can cause fever, vomiting and in some cases, sudden death. Kittens are particularly at risk.

The final three vaccinations often come in a three-in-one shot called either FVRCP or the distemper shot.

Some Final Things To Consider When Thinking How Often Do Cats Need Shots

Finally, one must consider the risk of adverse vaccination events in cats. Cats are at risk of cancers called injection site sarcomas. Although vaccines have saved countless feline lives, they also have a non-negligible potential to cause harm.

So, what is a concerned cat owner to do? No honest person can offer a clearly defined thesis on the matter of vaccines and regular parasite preventatives in cats. But I have been very consistent over the years with the following recommendation. Here it is: Find a good vet and talk it over. A good vet will recognize the complexities of every cats situation, and will take the time to help you tailor a protocol to your and your cats individual needs. Beware of any person who makes the subject sound simple in truth, it is anything but.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Maica | Getty Images.

This piece was originally published in 2015.

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At What Age Do You Stop Vaccinating Your Cat

By the time our pets are 8, 10 or 12 years or older they should have been vaccinated for these diseases several times in their lives: the first few times as puppies or kittens, a booster at one year and then boosters every three years, as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association and the American …

Why Your Indoor Cat Needs To Be Vaccinated

Kitten tests positive for rabies

Many states have laws that make certain vaccinations mandatory for cats, even if you think your indoor kitty doesn’t require them. As an example, lots of states have a law stating that all cats must be given the rabies vaccine by the time they are 6 months old. After your cat receives their vaccine your vet will provide you with a certificate that states your cat was given the required shots.

There is 2 types of vaccines that are available for cats one is ‘core vaccines’ the other is ‘lifestyle vaccines’.

Veterinarians recommend that all indoor cats should be given core vaccinations to keep them protected from a large range of extremely contagious diseases, so they are safe from illnesses if they escape from your house, go for a grooming or if they have to stay at a boarding facility, etc.

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Rabies In North America

In North America, the most common carriers of the rabies virus are skunks, bats, foxes, and raccoons. Since the virus is spread through saliva and causes heightened aggression in animals suffering from the effects of the disease, the most common way for cats to become infected with rabies is through the bite of an infected animal.

Due to the severe risk that rabies poses to human health, most US states require that pets diagnosed with rabies be euthanized. All mammals are capable of catching rabies through the bite of an infected animal, which is why it’s extremely important to protect your pet by ensuring that their rabies vaccinations are always kept up to date.

The prognosis after catching rabies is not good for unvaccinated cats, for whom the infection is most often fatal.

Lifestyle Vaccines For Cats

Some cats will need lifestyle/ non-core vaccinations depending on the lifestyle they live. Your veterinarian will let you know which ones your kitty should get. This type of vaccine protects you cat from the following conditions:

  • Feline immunodeficiency virus and Feline Leukemia – These vaccines usually are only recommended for cats that are outdoors often and protects them against viral infections which are contracted from close contact exposure.
  • Bordetella – A highly contagious bacteria that causes upper respiratory infections. Your vet might suggest this this vaccine if you are taking your cat to a boarding kennel or groomer.
  • Chlamydophila felis – This vaccination is often part of the distemper combination vaccine. It protects your cat from Chlamydia which is a bacterial infection that causes severe conjunctivitis.

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How Effective Are The Different Feline Vaccines

It is important to note that, whereas the rabies and distemper vaccines produce excellent protection against these diseases, the vaccines against the two respiratory viruses are not 100% effective. Cats still become infected, but the vaccine decreases the severity of the associated clinical signs. Both viruses are harbored for varying periods of time by infected cats.

Calicivirus is usually carried for a few years at most, but feline herpes virus remains in the cats nervous system for life. Periods of stress can reactivate this virus many years after the initial infection.

What Is The Rabies Vaccine Why Is It Important

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Rabies is a very serious disease and is predominantly fatal for pets that are unvaccinated. Since it’s impossible to diagnose rabies in living animals, euthanasia is required.

Once rabies symptoms take hold, the disease is nearly always fatal in animals and treatment options are usually supportive. This is why proactive prevention with the rabies vaccine is essential.

The vaccine is very effective and is typically provided to kittens at three or four months of age. Depending on your state laws and your vet’s advice, revaccination may be recommended at specific times.

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