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PureVax Rabies Vaccine Now Available for Feline Patients

We are now offering PureVax Rabies vaccines for all of our feline patients!  We will still carry our thimerosal free (TF) rabies vaccines, but you’ll have the option to choose the PureVax rabies vaccines for your kittens and adult cats as well.  Our veterinary technicians and veterinarians can help you choose which vaccine will be best for you and your kitty, but read below for additional information below regarding the vaccine.

What is the difference between your normal rabies vaccine and the new PureVax?

Our original 1 and 3 year rabies vaccines are Merial’s IMRAB3 TF, which is a killed virus requiring adjuvant to stimulate the immune system (although it does not contain thimerosal).

Merial’s PureVax vaccines are recombinant Canarypox vectored and have no adjuvant in them.  1 year Rabies and 3 year Rabies are now available in our hospital.

What does recombinant mean?

The PureVax vaccines uses a virus that has been recombined with parts of the rabies (or FeLV/FVRCP) virus.  The vaccine strain in PureVax is a “carrier” canarypox virus that has been given a gene that makes it able to produce part of a Rabies virus called “glycoprotein G”.  When the vaccine is given, the immune system recognizes the Rabies glycoprotein G as “foreign” and makes antibodies against it.  That way the immune system can respond and protect against the infection if exposed to the virus in real life.

What is an adjuvant, and what does non-adjuvanted mean?

An adjuvant is added to a vaccine to stimulate the immune system and increase the effectiveness of the vaccine.  This is necessary when using killed virus vaccines, such as the IMRAB 1 and 3 TF vaccines.  Because the PureVax vaccines use recombinant technology, no adjuvant is needed for effective immunity.

Why are these features important for my cat?

Adjuvants have been shown to potentially to pose increased risk in cats for reactions.  Particularly, cats are more susceptible to injection site reactions, chronic inflammation, and more seriously injection site sarcoma formation.  While the newer thimerosal free vaccines pose minimal risk, the PureVax non-adjuvanted vaccines are the safest and lowest risk.

What are the downsides of using these vaccines?

Because of the difficult nature of their production, these vaccines are more expensive than the adjuvanted vaccines, particularly the 1 year and 3 year Rabies vaccines.  While we can still offer our adjuvanted (but thimerosal free) rabies vaccines for free with your cat’s annual examination, there is an additional fee to give the PureVax rabies vaccine.