My cat is 18 1/2 years old and in good health. He eats well, has good bathroom habits and seems to drink enough water. He is an inside-outside cat, but he can no longer climb the fence, so he does not leave our backyard. He has had rabies shots every year. It's time for his shot, but I really don't want him to have it. I know other animals can come into the yard even if he can't get out. If he gets sick, he'll go to kitty heaven. I have heard it is hard on older animals to keep getting shots. It seemed it was very difficult for him at the last shot, which is why I'm putting off this most recent one. I know rabies shots are important, but having it every year until now, can I just skip it this year?
K.T., Sterling, Va May 21, 2012
Since your cat is old and was adversely affected by the anti-rabies vaccination last year, I think you have legitimate reasons to avoid putting him at risk from another vaccination. But you need to check on the regulations regarding such vaccinations for cats in your municipality, since they vary. In some areas, cat owners are liable if they allow their cats to wander off their property without a valid rabies tag on their collars. Discuss this issue and your concerns with your veterinarian, who may find it acceptable to write a letter stating that your cat has had prior anti-rabies vaccinations and his health might be jeopardized by giving further vaccinations. It is also possible that the anti-rabies vaccination is not needed because your cat has adequate circulating antibodies, for which your veterinarian could run a blood test.
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