Dogs have long had options for the three year rabies vaccines. Now that option will be available for cats too through Merial's PureVax Feline Rabies Vaccine. This is a nonadjuvanted vaccine using canary pox recombinant techniques.
Nonadjuvanted means the vaccine will be produced free of the additives that can stimulate better and higher immune responses. Unfortunately the adjuvants can increase the risk of fibrosracoma at the vaccination sites in cats. Any healthy cat or kitten over three months old can be vaccinated with this vaccine. a booster is recommended one year later. The following boosters are then given at three year intervals.
The increase in vaccine coverage is a result of recombinant technology which makes vaccines safer and promotes a better immune response. Rabies vaccination is very important for cats - especially cats who go outdoors.
The Center for Disease Control statistics show that rabies is a much higher risk in cats than dogs. In 2009, there were 300 cases of rabies in cats in the United States with only 81 cases of rabies in dogs. Not only is rabies fatal to the infected cat, but it can be transmitted to humans and other animals. If a person is bitten by a cat of unknown vaccine status, quarantine is the recommended first step. If that is not possible, the cat will be euthanized and checked for rabies infection.
One of the best ways to protect your cat from rabies - besides keeping her current on her rabies vaccine - is to keep her indoors. Cats infected with rabies have almost always had exposures to wildlife that had the virus. Even indoor cats should receive a rabies vaccine however. Bats often find ways into houses and may be caught by your cat. Your cat could escape and be exposed to a rabid animal while outside.
Rabies is considered a zoonotic disease since it can spread from animals to people - and vice versa. So a rabies vaccine for your cat not only helps to protect your cat it also protects you and your family. Cat owners have sometimes avoided vaccinations in the pst due to the concern about vaccine associated cancers. This new vaccine should minimize that risk.