A Cat Clinic

Rabies Vaccine Shortage: Why We Asked You to Wait

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

As you learned from the recent Rabies vaccine back-order situation, there is only one company that manufactures the non-adjuvanted vaccine. This is why we had to wait until vaccine became available from them again.

One of my own beloved cats, Samantha, had a vaccine-induced fibrosarcoma that resulted in amputation of her right hind leg, before non-adjuvanted vaccines were available. This is why our doctors are so committed to using the Heska (“nose-drops”) Distemper/Upper Respiratory vaccine, and the non-adjuvanted Rabies and Feline Leukemia (FeLV) vaccinations. (Thankfully, indoor cats at low risk of exposure don’t need the FeLV vaccine.)

But, since only one company makes the non-adjuvanted vaccines, their cost is much higher than the cost for other vaccines. So, if you are comparing “cost”, you can find inexpensive vaccines but they are unlikely to be these safer vaccines.

If cost is the most important factor, we do carry the 3-year adjuvanted Rabies vaccine. We generally use this for feral cats that we may never be able to catch again, but at least we know they received one vaccine. During the vaccine back-order the past two months, we used a recent protocol from the University of FL Veterinary College, of using this adjuvanted vaccine in the tail. The cats do seem to tolerate this and the vaccine seems to be effective.

If you have any questions about vaccines for your cat, please ask us!