Friday, January 15, 2010

Cases of Rabies are Increasing in Arizona

Now here is some sobering news: according to an article by John Faherty that appeared in The Arizona Republic on January 2nd, 2009 was a record breaker for reported cases of rabies in animals. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, 261 animals tested positive for rabies statewide. That is 85 more animals than in 2008. Keep in mind, these are just the animals that were captured and tested. There were probably more infected with the disease that were never tested.

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


Anonymous said...

So, rabies in cats is on the rise but everyone keeps lumping indoor only cats in the same category as all cats and this just doesn't make sense to me. As the article writes:

"... cats have more interaction with wildlife, where they are prone to being bitten by a rabid animal, and they aren't getting the vaccinations they need"...

Cats have more interaction with wildlife... Well, yeah if they are outside or indoor/outdoor!

What about cats that are stictly inside, never go out, cannot get out, and have zero risk of a bat or other getting in the house? I seriously think the risk for indoor only cats is over-stated.

Scottsdale Cat Clinic said...

Yes, indoor cats do have much less risk of being exposed to rabies. However, the risk from bats is very real as they can fit into very tight spaces and get into a house, even if you think there is no risk for it. I have had a bat in my house and have had a few clients tell me that they found bats in their houses. Usually they could not figure out how the bat got in. One client told me how she found a bat the month after I had recommended and given her cats the rabies vaccine. She was so relieved she had agreed to the vaccine.

Even though the risk for indoor cats is very small of being exposed to rabies, is fatal to cats and to the humans who are exposed. I would not take that risk for my cat and recommend vaccination for all my patients. You are your cat's caretaker and it is your decision what treatments and vaccines your cat is given. Our responsibility is to give you the information to make an informed decision.

Anonymous said...


just registered and put on my todo list

hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...

Substantially, the article is really the greatest on this noteworthy topic. I concur with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your approaching updates. Saying thanks will not just be adequate, for the extraordinary lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. De lightful [url=]poker[/url] work and much success in your natural writing!

Anonymous said...


I have a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

Can I use part of the information from your post above if I provide a link back to your site?


Scottsdale Cat Clinic said...

Hi Jack, please email us at to let us know what site you would be quoting and linking us too. Thank you.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing this link - but unfortunately it seems to be down? Does anybody here at have a mirror or another source?


Scottsdale Cat Clinic said...

Hi Charlie,
It looks like has changed the link, but if you type "rabies" into their search, the original article cited in this blog will come up.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog