Today we’re going to take on a hot-button issue: pet vaccinations. Many pet owners who keep their animal exclusively indoors (particularly cats) find it difficult to understand why they still need to get their pets vaccinated and treated for parasites every so often. After all, if you take them for their early-life shots to prevent puppy and kitten illnesses, shouldn’t that take care of them for the rest of their life?
Regular vaccinations can seem like a cash grab on the part of your local veterinary clinic, especially if you vaccinate and deworm on their recommended timetable. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here are several excellent reasons why vaccinating your pet and getting anti-parasite treatments regularly is still critical to keeping your furry friend in the best of health.
Indoor Cats and Dogs Get Outside
Indoor pets eventually get outside. It’s inevitable even if you are extremely careful. Pet owners with small breed dog living in a high rise still need to vaccinate their pets. Once outside, there is still a chance your dog or cat could be exposed to other pets infected or infested with disease and parasites, food with parasites, and disease bearing insects. Even mosquitoes and houseflies carry blood borne parasites and both canine and feline diseases. To keep your pet safe and healthy, you need to make sure their pet vaccinations and parasite treatments are up to date.
Lost Pets End Up At Shelters
Unless you have an expensive GPS tracker on your indoor pet at all times (an unlikely scenario), there is little you can do if they get out except wait for them to come back for food. If they get picked up by a kind stranger, they will more than likely be taken to the nearest animal shelter. Hopefully you’ve had your pet microchipped with your contact information (always a good idea), but if you haven’t you may find yourself calling shelters daily to see if anyone found your pet and brought them in.
Your cat or dog may only be at the shelter for a short time before you are contacted, but they are still exposed to potential carriers of disease and parasites while they are there. Not keeping their vaccinations up to date means they could contract either a serious illness or pick up parasites from another animal.
Life Changes For You and Your Pet
Relationships end, people move, and pets go where their owners go. Your adorable kitten who has lived indoors may become an outdoor cat after a move. The same can be said of your dog, as they may be spending more time outdoors if your lifestyle changes or you move to a home with room to run. Keeping their vaccinations and parasite prevention up to date ensures they are prepared for environmental changes no matter where life takes you.
Research Shows Stress Can Cause Latent Disease Flare-Ups
There are diseases that dogs and cats can contract after unexpected contact at any age, though some diseases lie dormant for years and do not present symptoms for a long time. Some diseases can even be contracted while your pet is in utero, and there is no way to know when the disease will manifest.
It is possible that if your pet experiences a trauma or an increase in stress due to moving or rehoming, these dormant diseases can manifest without warning, causing potentially debilitating or life threatening illness. While vaccines can’t eliminate the disease altogether, keeping your pet vaccinated helps prevent your cat or dog from developing symptoms even after experiencing stress or trauma.
Rabies Vaccines Are Required By Law In Some Areas
The likelihood of a rabid animal getting into your home is actually greater than you might think. Bats carrying rabies can gain access to your home through crawl spaces, attics, open windows, and even sliding doors. There are documented cases of raccoons and bats with rabies getting into homes and biting indoor pets.
Due to the increased risk of contracting rabies, many communities, cities and states have laws on the books requiring regular rabies vaccinations for all pets regardless of where they live or how they are kept. Even if you plan on keeping your pet indoors at all times, you may still be required at minimum to keep your pet’s rabies vaccine up to date.
Whether you just got a new indoor pet or you’ve had one for a while, make sure they are up to date on their vaccines. Living indoors does not guarantee protection from parasites and disease, so take your indoor pet to your local veterinary clinic and get their vaccines up to date as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already. If you have any questions about pet vaccinations, contact our team at Longview Animal Hospital today. We are happy to help you.