Not only does the Arizona Department of Health Services recommend staying away from wild animals, especially those who appear sick – always good advice – they are also recommending that pets be vaccinated.
Even though rabies is rare in cats, it is a fatal disease without any treatment. It is also a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmittable from animals to humans. Therefore, rabies in your cat exposes you, your family, and other pets to the disease. Additionally, cats are more likely to have rabies than dogs. In fact, one of the animals diagnosed last year was a cat in Maricopa County. While there is a treatment option for humans, the infection must be caught very early and treatment is very painful and extensive.
Although the rabies vaccine is not required for cats by the State of Arizona, the American Association of Feline Practitioners considers it a core vaccine. This means that all cats should be vaccinated for it. Here at the Scottsdale Cat Clinic, we always recommend vaccinating for Rabies, even for indoor only cats. It only takes a moment for either your cat to slip outside, or for the outside to slip in.
In Maricopa County, the wild animals most frequently found with rabies are bats. Bats can be anywhere outside and can even get into houses. As cats are hunters, they would likely have contact with a bat that came into their yard or house. Since the rabies virus is transmitted through saliva contact, not even a full bite is necessary for infection to occur.
Fortunately, rabies vaccines are very effective. We use the Purevax vaccine made by Merial. We chose this vaccine because is it much less likely to cause an adverse reaction. The Purevax vaccine is a modified live recombinant vaccine that uses a canarypox to stimulate the cat’s immune system to make antibodies against rabies. This differs from other rabies vaccines that use an adjuvant to stimulate the immune system leading to inflammation at the site of injection. The use of adjuvants in vaccines is believed to be the cause of fibrosarcomas that have been found at previous vaccination sites.
The Purevax vaccine is an annual vaccine, meaning it must be given to cats every year to keep their immunity against rabies strong.
To schedule an appointment for your cat to have his or her Rabies vaccine, please give us a call at 480.970.1175 or email us at email@example.com