In recent years, some people have questioned vaccination protocols for pets and humans alike. Some have even opted to refuse vaccination for themselves and their families. While the veterinary world has re-evaluated our vaccination recommendations and have altered a few of the protocols, overall, vaccination is still an important way to keep our pets healthy.

Rabies vaccinations, especially, are more important than ever. Some cat owners assume that, because it isn’t required by law for cats, it isn’t important for felines. Rabies in cats is a real risk, though, and keeping your kitty current on his or her rabies vaccine is the only sure-fire way you have of being sure that your feline remains rabies free.

Rabies is Real

While we don’t think about rabies much in this area of the world, it is still out there. We still have plenty of wildlife in the United States that tests positive for this fatal disease every year, and it is important to continue to protect ourselves and our pets.

Animals and people may not show signs of the neurological disease for months or even years after exposure, and once clinical signs are apparent, there is no cure. Rabies virtually always results in death.

Rabies in Cats Happens

When we think about rabies, we often envision rabid raccoons or feral cats and ignore the fact that our own cuddly companions are vulnerable to this nasty virus. For example, earlier this year, a kitten in Colorado Springs was diagnosed with rabies. Due to exposure with this infected pet, 20 people who had come into contact with her needed treatment for rabies.

Cats are hunters and often roam, coming into contact with animals who may be carrying rabies. Any mammal can be infected, and our feline predators don’t discriminate healthy animals from sick ones.

We often forget, also, that one of the leading carriers of rabies in the Midwest is the bat. Like it or not, bats frequently enter homes and yards, potentially exposing even the most indoor of pets to disease.

Rabies Vaccination in Cats Protects People

Rabies is what is called a zoonotic disease, meaning people can contract it as well as animals. In fact, many human cases of rabies throughout the world are due to contact with an infected dog or cat.

Rabies is a serious disease with no cure. Because of the seriousness of the risk to other pets and people, rabies vaccination in cats is considered a core vaccine. This means it is recommended for virtually every pet.

Prevention is vital for the safety of all of us. Gambling with rabies is a very risky endeavor and it is best not to take any chances. Please be sure to keep your cat’s vaccines updated and let your veterinarian know right away if there has been a potential exposure. At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we know that each pet is unique and we’re happy to discuss vaccine recommendations with you at any time.