I'm not a vet, but my "hobby" is listening to recordings of talks given at vet CE conferences by some of the top veterinary researchers ... including many talks by the top experts who wrote the Canine Vaccination Guidelines for vets (just updated last year). So, I can share what I think I've learned from them.
Bottom line is that I think it should be okay, but watch your dog carefully today. Most Rabies reactions are more of an allergic type reaction and would be more likely to occur quickly after vaccination. The major risk factor is usually the giving of multiple vaccinations to a small dog ... but that is usually more than two vaccinations. Did your dog also receive other vaccines at that vet appointment (e.g. Distemper, Adenovirus 2, Parvo, Lepto, Lyme, etc)? The risk factor increases with the number of vaccines given, but even so, the percentage of dogs with negative reactions is still small. You posted 15 hours ago, so if you haven't seen any significant reaction, you are probably fine.
All Rabies vaccines for dogs are Killed Virus (KV) vaccines, which means they are made by taking the Rabies virus (or part of it) and using a chemical to "kill" it. So, there is no danger from an additional amount of "dead" virus with the second vaccination. But the immune system won't respond well to a dead virus, so all KV vaccines need an added chemical, called an "adjuvant" (usually something like aluminum) that causes an inflammation at the vaccination site. The purpose of the adjuvant is to wake up and stimulate the immune system to respond to a dead vaccine virus. In addition to the adjuvant, companies may include other things in vaccines like antibiotics, etc. It is all a "secret formula" by the manufacturer.
So, besides the double dose of the dead (killed) Rabies virus, your dog got a double dose of the other stuff in the vaccine. Many feel that it is the "other stuff" that is responsible for many of the post-vaccination reactions. But they are usually more of an immediate, allergic reaction, though some may take 1-3 months to appear ... e.g. skin discoloration or bleeding sores on the tips of the ears ... see the info on Dr Richard Ford's website (one of the co-authors of the Vaccination Guidelines): http://www.dvmvac.com/HotTopic.shtml#skin As he said, that seems to be, anectdotally, more common with the old Fort Dodge (now Boehringer Ingelheim) vaccines.
The really frustrating part is that with Rabies, the 3-yr and 1-yr vaccines are the SAME product, just with a different label (and a couple companies add more adjuvant to the 3-yr product). So, your dog, even with the 1-yr vaccine, was protected for at least 3 yrs. But the legal system won't recognize a 1-yr vaccine as protective for 3 yrs ... so after the first vaccination, immunologically your dog was protected but the law won't accept it for more than one year.
I think it would have been better if your vet had just refunded part of your money and asked you to come back in a year and then give the 3-yr vaccine (dogs need annual wellness checks anyway). But if you haven't seen any significant reaction by now, all should be okay. Cats are more sensitive to the inflammatory reactions of adjuvanted vaccines, but dogs generally handle it pretty well. The dead Rabies in the vaccine shouldn't be a problem. I'm assuming that this was a booster and not your dog's first/initial Rabies vaccination. So, the immune system will react quickly to boost immunity. Just keep an eye out for a couple months for skin/ear tip changes, but I think both are quite rare and not lethal. Based on what I think I've learned from the experts, I think that it is unlikely there will be any problems.
Yes, I think Baytril is quite bitter tasting. What I did when giving Baytril (and any other pill) to my cat was to put it in just enough cheese to cover the pill. I actually used a little of the Kraft individually wrapped cheese slices. I still gave it as a pill, but all my cat tasted was the cheese, not the bitter medication. I was lucky that she was easy to pill ... as long as I didn't try to restrain her in any way. You can also try the pill pockets made for cats or hide it in other types of food. But if a cat bites into it and tastes it, that can be a problem because of the bitter taste.
The transdermal gel medications are popular with cat owners, but are not always a good way to give medication. The problem is that it is difficult to determine for each individual cat how much of the medication is absorbed through the skin of the ear ... which may vary for different cats. That makes it very difficult to dose the medication properly. Until proper studies are done to determine how well a medication is absorbed through the skin, and how accurately it can be dosed ... it can be dangerous to give medications that way.
It is especially true with Baytril which has to be dosed very carefully. It is a very good and strong antibiotic when dosed properly in cats. But if given at more than 5 mg/kg/day it can cause damage to the retinas and blindness. It is very important not to overdose Baytril. So, I suspect that Baytril is one medication that wouldn't work as a transdermal gel ... though I'm not a vet and I don't know if it is ever formulated that way. I have only heard of Baytril being given either as a pill or intramuscular injection ... or by IV, though many don't give it that way anymore because of the increased risk of side effects including blindness.
You can ask your vet about a different type of antibiotic. There is a newer antibiotic out called Convenia (by Pfizer) that many cat owners like because it is given as an injection and is good for two weeks. But its primary use is for bacterial skin infections. Perhaps that would be okay in terms of preventing an infection at the incision site. But you would need to ask your vet whether it would be a proper antibiotic for your cat's particular needs. Here is the website for Convenia: http://animalhealth.pfizer.com/sites/pahweb/us/en/Products/Pages/Convenia.aspx
You may want to look at the document that Dr Shannon mentioned ... the 2006 AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines that was written by a carefully chosen group of the top experts in veterinary medicine (immunologists, infectious disease, feline specialists, shelter medicine experts, etc). They are actually, currently, working to update/rewrite the Guidelines but it will probably be another year before they are completed. I have been corresponding with one of the authors of the Guidelines for about 4 years. Here is a link: http://www.catvets.com/uploads/PDF/2006_Vaccination_Guidelines_JAVMA.pdf
Or, the easy way, is to look at the personal website on vaccine/vaccinations by Dr Richard Ford of NC State, one of the co-authors of the Guidelines (for both dogs and cats). He has summarized the vaccination recommendations of the Guidelines in a series of tables. While one of the premises of the Guidelines is that there is no "one protocol for all cats" and you need to look at your particular situation and risk of exposure ... the suggestions given on Dr Ford's website, based on the Guidelines, are for a typical indoor pet cat. He also gives a few notes with personal opinions and updates since the Guidelines were written. Here is a link: http://www.dvmvac.com/
If you use a Modifed Live Virus (MLV) vaccine for FVRCP (Herpes, Calici, Panleukopenia) ... first be sure that, if kittens, they receive the last kitten vaccination at or after 16 weeks. That is very important to be sure that there is no longer any maternal antibody interference. After the 16 week vaccination (or if the initial vaccination was later) give a booster one year later. Thereafter, boosters are only needed every 3 years.
For Rabies, you have to follow the legal requirements in your area. Unfortunately, Rabies titers cannot be used as a reason for not giving Rabies boosters. Rabies titers are not recognized by the US legal system as a means of proving protection. So, you have to give the boosters ... unless there is a medical reason not to AND you live in a state where vets have the right to give Rabies vaccination waivers.
For Rabies you have a choice of a Killed Virus (KV) vaccine or a Recombinant Rabies vaccine. The advantage of the KV is that there are some that are licensed for 3-years so that you only have to booster them every 3 years (unless local laws require annual boosters). The drawback is that there is a known connection between KV Rabies vaccines and the development in some cats (ca 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 10,000 vaccinations) of a very aggressive cancer ("Vaccine Associated Sarcoma" VAS). It also requires a genetic predisposition in a cat, but the experts recommend avoiding KV vaccines when possible. The rRabies (recombinant, only made by Merial) is a very good vaccine and does not have the same risks as the KV vaccines. The down-side of the rRabies is that it is only licensed for 1 year and has to be boostered annual. The choice of Rabies vaccine is yours, but for what its worth, nearly every vaccine expert prefers the 1-year Recombinant Rabies to the 3-year KV Rabies because of the reduced amount of inflammation and therefore less risk of VAS.
FeLV is a bit controversial but the Guidelines recommends it for all KITTENS simply because kittens are EXTREMELY susceptible to FeLV if they are exposed. However, once a cat is 6-8 months old, i.e. when their immune system is mature, they have a natural immunity to FeLV. They can still be infected, so vaccination is suggested if there is a high risk of exposure, but it is hard to infect an adult, so most will not need it. If you are bringing in cats with unknown FeLV status, you may want to vaccinate for it.
I strongly recommend having only vets give vaccinations (I'm just a pet owner). Going elsewhere you run the risk of vaccines not being stored or given properly. I wouldn't trust that for my cat.
The answer depends on what type of vaccine your kitten was given. There are two types of vaccines available for Panleukopenia (often called Distemper): 1) Modified Live Virus, and 2) Killed Virus.
If both the first vaccine and the one today were Killed Virus vaccines, then your kitten will need another vaccination between 2 and 6 weeks from today (not less than 2 weeks). The reason is that Killed Virus vaccines are made by killing the virus that is used to make the vaccine. The immune system realizes it is dead and doesn't respond well to it. With Killed Virus vaccines, TWO initial doses are needed. The first dose only "primes" the immune system. A second dose given no sooner than 2 weeks and no longer than 6 weeks later is needed. It then takes about 7-10 days after the second vaccine before there is protective immunity.
However, if both, or even just this second vaccine was a Modified Live Virus vaccine, then you do not need a second dose. Many vets will do so (I've been told by one of the leading vaccine experts that "most" vets will give two doses in this type of situation, though immunologically it is not necessary). Veterinary immunologists will also tell you that a single dose of a Modified Live Virus vaccine given after 16 weeks of age will provide protective immunity within 5-7 days after the vaccination.
The 16 week mark is given as the point at which one can be confident that there is no longer any maternal antibody interference. Kittens receive protective antibodies by nursing within the first about 24 hours after birth. Those maternal antibodies gradually decline but while present will interfere with vaccines. There is no way to know when the maternal antibodies will be low enough to no longer interfere with vaccines ... so, most kittens are given a series of vaccinations beginning around 8-9 weeks of age. But studies have shown that by 16 weeks about 98% of kittens no longer have interference from maternal antibodies and the kitten will respond to the vaccine.
With Modified Live Virus vaccines, because the vaccine contains a weaken but live form of the virus, there is a good immune response to the vaccine. So, a single dose of a Modified Live Virus vaccine after 16 weeks of age will give protection (but should be boostered one year later).
So, in summary, if the vaccination given today was with a Killed Virus vaccine for Distemper (Panleukopenia, and usually Herpes and Calici are included) ... then another vaccination is needed in 2-6 weeks (between 3-4 weeks is recommended). But if the vaccine given today was a Modified Live Virus vaccine, then there is no need for another vaccination, though many vets like to give one as added protection. Either way, your kitten will need a booster in one year. Thereafter, boosters are usually recommended every 3 years, depending on risk of exposure.
Actually, while Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is extremely contagious to KITTENS ... adult cats have a natural immunity to FeLV. They can still become infected, so it is a good idea to vaccinate a cat that is living with an FeLV positive cat. But, it is relatively difficult to infect an otherwise healthy adult cat. A retrovirus researcher at NC State has suggested that on a scale of 1-10 with ten as most susceptible and 1 as least susceptible to FeLV infection ... a kitten is a 10 and an adult cat over about 8 months of age (i.e. when the immune system is mature) is a 1.5 on the ten point scale. The adult can still be infected with repeated exposure, but it is much more difficult to infect an adult. Whereas, kittens with immature immune systems are extremely susceptible.
For that reason, the authors of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Feline Vaccination Guidelines "strongly recommend" that ALL KITTENS be vaccinated for FeLV (the recombinant FeLV vaccine is preferred). I have spoken to one of the co-authors who has said it was their intention that FeLV vaccines be "Core" for all kittens because they are so very susceptible if they are exposed. However, the FeLV vaccine is formally classified as "Non-Core" for adults ... so that it is only necessary if there is a significant known risk of exposure ... as would be true in this case.
Sorry to hear about your kittens. According to the veterinary infectious disease experts, about 80% of all upper respiratory infections in cats are caused by one of two viruses, Herpesvirus-1 or Calicivirus. Antibiotics will not treat viral infections. But many cats with Herpes or Calici get secondary bacterial infections ... so antibiotics are often given and can sometimes be helpful.
Probably the most common cause is Feline Herpesvirus-1 which is known to cause sneezing and clear nasal and eye discharge. Once infected with Herpes, it is for life ... but most cats have immune systems (along with protection from vaccines) that are able to keep it in a latent/dormant state and the cat may never show symptoms. But it is also well known that periods of stress can cause Herpes to become active again. That seems to fit your scenario, with your kittens breaking with symptoms soon after the stress of being spayed or neutered. It is likely that the mother cat has had a Herpes infection that had been dormant, but the stress of birth and caring for the kittens could have reactivated her Herpes and she may have infected the kittens ... then the stress from the spay and neutering of the kittens made it active in them.
If (and without testing there is no way to know for sure) your kittens have Herpes ... one common treatment is to give them some Lysine (added to their food). Lysine is an amino acid and will not cure Herpes, but it can help slow the reproduction of the virus and help the cat's immune system get it under control. I've never had to use it, but I believe you can use a generic Lysine from any pharmacy and it is quite safe to give. I'm not a vet but your vet can help you with dosage amounts. That may be the cheapest way to help the kittens ... assuming the problem is Herpes.
For more serious Herpes infections, there is a new anti-viral medication, called Famciclovir, that works well on Herpes and is safe to use in cats ... but I think it is rather expensive. You can ask your vet about it if Herpes is suspected and the antibiotics and/or Lysine are not helping.
If the cause of the respiratory infection is Calici ... there isn't much you can do other than the antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections ... plus basic supportive care. If they are badly stuffed up so that they can't smell their food and stop eating ... you can turn on a hot shower and put them in the bathroom where they can breathe the steamy, moist air ... or, the vet can show you how to set up a nebulizer, but that may cost a bit to get the materials. The vet can also try flushing the sinuses with saline to give some temporary relief.
If the kittens haven't received their vaccinations yet, it would be good to do so. The older kittens should be sure to have had a final kitten series vaccination (for Herpes, Calici and Panleukopenia) at or after 16 weeks of age.
You might want to ask your vet about one of the Intranasal vaccines (by either Heska or Pfizer). They have the advantage of giving a good local immunity (stimulating innate immunity and cell mediated immunity) in the nasal mucous where the infection is found. The drawback of the intranasal vaccines is that they, themselves, can cause 2-3 days of sneezing and nasal discharge. But since your kittens are already doing that, you don't have anything to lose. Some specialists actually treat chronic Calici with the intranasal vaccine and often have good results. However, the kittens do need an injected Panleukopenia vaccine at or after 16 weeks of age.
There are several organizations that help with veterinary expenses. I haven't had to use them, so can't remember right now, but there are others here who can help with suggestions.
I know this post is about dogs ... but my cat also likes to bury her food, i.e. her food bowl. She uses large sheets of paper, slightly wadded up, and paws at it to cover her bowl. Then when she eats, she just sticks her head under the paper.
I finally realized that it was a natural instinct to hide her food from predators. My kitty is a pedigree RagaMuffin but very much an individual with a unique character. She seems to have a number of more "wild" instincts. She is so happy covering/burying her food, so it is fine with me and I just buy rolls of paper and give her new pieces when the old ones get food on them (she eats only canned food). She is an only cat (only pet) and has no competition ... but this makes her happy.
I assume that with dogs, it is a similar thing ... burying food both to preserve it and to hide it from predators or other dogs that might eat it. I think some dogs just have strong digging and burying instincts. I try to work with my pets as much as possible, so if the hole digging isn't a problem, I would let your dog do what she enjoys.
Here are a few photos of my kitty, Lisabelle, happily eating from her covered bowl:
I'm not a vet nor tech, but my "hobby" is listening to recordings of talks given at vet continuing education conferences by some of the top experts and researchers. I have a particular interest in vaccinology and have gotten to know one of the leading experts, Dr Richard Ford, at NC State Univ who is a co-author of both the official Canine and Feline Vaccination Guidelines. You are lucky that only a few weeks ago, NEW AAHA 2011 Canine Vaccination Guidelines were just published. If you want to read them, you can see them at: https://www.aahanet.org/PublicDocuments/CanineVaccineGuidelines.pdf
The question of volume of dose for small breed dogs is one that is frequently asked, by vets as well as owners. It is based on immunology. Vaccines are not drugs which are given based on weight. Vaccines are a biological product and they need to stimulate the immune system to respond and produce protective immunity (e.g. by stimulating the production of antibodies and/or cell mediated immunity).
The analogy that Dr Ford often uses is that of bowling. If the bowling ball represents the vaccine and a strike represents the immunizing response ... the question is, what size ball is needed to be able to get that immunizing strike. If one uses a baseball size ball, will that be enough to get all the pins down? It doesn't have anything to do with the size of the dog (or cat) but rather what is needed to stimulate the immune system to produce immunity.
The fact is, the researchers don't know exactly what the minimum dose is that is needed to immunize. The companies choose a dosage amount to use in their challenge studies and all they can say is that they know that amount will produce immunity but they don't know if a lesser amount will. But it is not based on the size of the dog.
Here is one quote from the new Guidelines in its Q&A section:
"5. Should the large dog (e.g., Great Dane) be injected with the same volume of vaccine as the small dog (e.g., Chihuahua)?
Unlike pharmaceuticals (the dose of which is usually based on weight), a vaccine dose is not based on volume per body mass (size), but rather on the minimum immunizing dose (inactivated vaccine) or the minimum infectious dose (attenuated vaccine). Therefore, the entire dose should be administered as directed by the manufacturer. Administering less than the prescribed dose may not induce a protective immune response"
The Guidelines also make the point that dogs that have a hypersensitivity to a vaccine may react just as strongly to a smaller amount as well, so reducing the volume may not reduce the risk of an adverse reaction and may end up not immunizing the dog.
Dr Ford (who stays current on the legal aspects of vaccinations) has said repeatedly that no states in the US will accept a Rabies titer test as proof of immunity. So save your money on titer testing. If a dog is sick (e.g. with an immune related disease) or has had a previous life-threatening vaccine reaction, some (not all) states will give the vet waiver authority ... but not based (as far as I know) on titers. If your dogs have had vaccinations before without bad reactions, there is little risk that boosters will be a problem.
You can also lessen the risk of reactions by using modified live virus vaccines for the other core vaccinations. For dogs, all Rabies vaccines are Killed Virus vaccines which tend to be more reactive. So, you can give the Rabies at a separate vet visit (minimum 2 weeks after any other vaccination). Also, avoid the Ft Dodge Rabies vaccine (now sold by Boehringer Ingelheim) which Dr Ford has said is over represented in post vaccination adverse events. Use a 3 year labeled vaccine so that you don't have to booster every year. The most reactive vaccines are the bacterial ones for Lepto, Lyme, Bordetella, etc which are non-core vaccines. If there is low risk of exposure you can avoid those.
I'm not so sure I would jump to the conclusion that he doesn't have any pain. The refusal to jump up on things is one of the most common and classic symptoms of osteoarthritis (now commonly called "degenerative joint disease" DJD) in cats. I had a geriatric kitty who had symptoms of arthritis very similar to your cat ... i.e. she would put her front paws on something and then with a small hop would pull herself up with her front legs. Veterinary researchers are discovering that DJD is much more common in middle aged and older cats than they once realized ... because cats generally don't limp or become vocal with pain.
I'm not a vet and there may be other causes, but I'd encourage you to take him to a vet and let the vet know of his reluctance to jump. Your vet may want to do x-rays (though DJD doesn't always show on x-rays) ... or may want to try giving some pain medication to see if it helps.
If your vet feels that DJD may be a factor, you might also try giving a neutraceutical like Cosequin (a veterinary formulation of glucosamine and chondroitin). One of the leading veterinary researchers on treating pain from DJD in cats is Dr Duncan Lascelles at NC State. He feels that Dasuquin works even better in cats. Dasuquin is the same as Cosequin (by the same company) but adds avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU). Both Cosequin and Dasuqun come as capsules that can be pilled, but are made specifically to be pulled apart and the powder sprinkled on food. Here is a link about Dasuquin: http://www.nutramaxlabs.com/vet/products/Dasuquin-for-cats.aspx
Another treatment along the same lines is Adequan which is given by injection, generally once a week for a month or two and then monthly which can be easier for some cats than trying to get them to eat something in food or take a pill.
Cosequin, Dasuquin and Adequan, I believe are all considered quite safe in cats and frequently recommended by vets ... and will not interfere with any pain medications that your vet may also want to give. All three generally take a couple months to build up before effects are seen, so they are not an instant cure but can help long term.
One other adjunct treatment that helps some cats is acupuncture. I had acupuncture done on my cat. I don't know how much it helped her ... she didn't start jumping on things again ... but the treatments really relaxed her and she enjoyed them, nearly sleeping during them. If your vet feels it is worth trying, be sure to find a vet that is certified in acupuncture.
I may be jumping to a conclusion on arthritis/DJD ... but your description sounds very much like that would be a possibility. Sometimes the only sign of joint pain in a cat is the cat's refusal to jump. I remember well the first time my cat suddenly couldn't jump up on a chair. From then on, I used boxes to make steps for her to get up to her favorite places. Anyway, I think that it is worth having your cat checked and asking your vet about it.
I'm not a vet or tech, but I've listened to a number of talks given at vet CE conferences by some of the top veterinary specialists and researchers ... including Dr Richard Ford of NC State and Dr Susan Little who is a feline specialist and a co-author of both the 2008 AAFP Feline Retrovirus Management Guidelines and also the newly published 2011 Canadian FeLV/FIV Testing Guidelines. The Canadian Guidelines are not yet available online, but the 2008 AAFP Guidelines can be found here (there are links for both the full Guidelines and also a "Summary" form for pet owners): http://www.catvets.com/professionals/guidelines/publications/?Id=323
I think you may be a bit confused about antibodies and antigen. While kittens get antibodies from their mother ... which can interfere with testing for FIV because all FIV tests look for antibodies, that isn't true of antigen. The FeLV tests are looking for the p27 antigen which is produced by the actual virus. So, if it is detected in a kitten, it is a sign of infection. Maternal antibodies do not interfere with FeLV testing. Here is a quote from the 2008 Guidelines:
"Kittens may be tested at any time because passively acquired maternal antibody does not interfere with testing for viral antigen. However, kittens infected as a result of maternal transmission may not test positive for weeks to months after birth (Levy and Crawford 2005)."
However, FeLV is a VERY complex disease. Within about a month of exposure to FeLV the p27 antigen will be found in circulation. The most common screening test, the ELISA (or in-clinic "SNAP") test looks for the circulating p27 antigen. I would assume that is the test that hlrobin's kitten tested positive on.
After initial infection, a very small number of kittens may actually clear the infection. So, if the SNAP test was done during that period, it is possible that the kitten will not be permanently infected.
But that is now thought to be rare. More often, the FeLV goes on and infects cells ... blood cells and particularly bone marrow lymphocytes. There is another test for FeLV called the IFA that looks for the p27 antigen INSIDE of the blood cells. This is a more advanced stage of infection than what the SNAP test is looking for.
When there is an initial positive for the SNAP test, the Retrovirus Guidelines recommend immediate retesting using the IFA test. However, since the IFA is looking for a more advanced form of infection, and it may take 6-8 weeks after the initial infection before the blood cells are infected, it might be better to wait a month or so for the IFA test, or test both now and in a month or two. If the kitten is negative now on the IFA, it may simply mean that the infection hasn't progressed yet to the blood cells, and not that the kitten is not infected.
It gets even more difficult. Once the lymphocytes are infected, the FeLV deposits its RNA inside the cell. Then, the FeLV RNA turns itself into DNA (called DNA provirus) ... and then incorporates itself into the cats genome. At that point, it becomes part of the cat and there is no cure.
Then, for many cats, the infection becomes "regressive" ... i.e. it becomes dormant and "hides" in the cats DNA ... and at that point both the SNAP & IFA tests would be negative, even though the cat is infected. Some cats may remain healthy for years or life. In others, perhaps years later, the FeLV will reactivate (become "progressive") and cause infection ... resulting in depressing the immune system and making the cat susceptible to many diseases.
It is hard to interpret FeLV tests because one doesn't know the stage of disease at testing. One other test, the PCR, can detect the provirus and may be the best way to know if the cat is infected ... but you have to be careful to use a good lab for the test and make sure their tests have been validated.
Many cats live years with FeLV and I hope you can give this one a home. Good luck.