I had an enlightening talk with a favorite client and an experienced veterinarian. I didn’t know that cat owners can be fined $1,000. If their unvaccinated cat bites someone, sending that person to the hospital room, and the owner ignores the rabies quarantine, the owner can be fined.
If you’re bitten by a cat, those pointy teeth can inject nasty stuff into hard-to-reach places where infection quickly blossoms and travels up the arm. Next step, stomach-upsetting antibiotics and worst case scenario, hospitalization with an IV drip.
With adjuvanted vaccines, veterinarians noticed that some cats developed sarcomas at the rabies injection site. Also, a bunch of cats reacted to the vaccine by showing signs of being sick (lethargic). Over time, the vaccine’s been weakened and altered. The 1-year non-adjuvanted vaccine has been around for many years. Seems to be safer. As my client explained — she is a doctor — a 1-year vaccine is very weak, and that’s part of what makes it safer. Most other types of vaccines work for many, many years, not just one year.
Merial is coming out with a 3-year non-adjuvanted vaccine. An adjuvant is like vaccine caffeine (very simplified description and not correct, but good enough for this example). Some cats had a bad reaction to the juice. Now, there’s no caffeine in the vaccine. More info on vaccine from Cornell.
The 3-year non-adjuvanted is new enough that one vet said he wasn’t eager to try it until some time had passed.
When I get my cat, Emma, re-vaccinated, she’ll be receiving a 1-year non-adjuvanted vaccine. I’d prefer to skip the vaccine, but rabies kills.
If you do get your cat vaccinated with the older-style adjuvanted vaccine, keep an eye out for lethargy. They might feel sick for 24 -48 hours. That’s why it’s kinder to get them vaccinated at least a few days before traveling or other big changes. Traveling while weak isn’t fun for anyone.