Does your indoor pet really need vaccinations?
Although your pet may have a low risk of getting diseases from other animals, vaccinations are important because infection is always a possibility. Some viruses can linger in the environment for some time, long after the animals that deposited them have passed. And some viruses, such as parvo, are severe enough to cause death.
We feel that we cannot emphasize enough the importance of having your pet regularly vaccinated against rabies. Rabies is a fatal virus — not only in many pets, but also in other mammals, including humans. Consequently, rabies vaccination is required by law in all of the United States. Rabid animals act very strangely, lose their fear of humans and other animals, and could approach you and your pet even in the middle of the day. Further, bats are known to get inside houses accidentally, and could spread rabies indoors. If your pet is not current on its rabies shot, and it bites or nips a human being, your regional health department could require the euthanasia to test your pet for rabies. The cost of a rabies vaccination is very cheap, especially when compared with the heartache that could be encountered if it is not done.
The decision to vaccinate against other contagious diseases is one that each owner has to make on a case-by-case basis. Because not all pets have the same risk of exposure to certain diseases, not all pets need the same vaccinations. Certain vaccines, such as that for feline leukemia, are recommended only if a cat is spending time outdoors, where it could be involved in a fight. Your veterinarian will make a recommendation depending on your pet’s individual situation. But as a general rule, it is much easier and safer to prevent contagious illnesses than it is to treat them.