“Why does my pet need vaccines and flea prevention if she never goes outside?” This is a common question that indoor pet owners ask their veterinarian. And although it may seem as if monthly preventives for fleas, ticks, and heartworm as well as keeping vaccines current are a waste of money, the reality is that being indoors does not eliminate the risk of infectious disease or other parasite related problems for indoor pets.

Year round parasite control and a vaccination program are integral parts of your indoor pet’s health care plan. And because some parasites and infectious diseases are transmissible to humans, Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital is certain that keeping your pet protected also protects your family.

Ever Present Risks

You may think your sweet pet is safe in their hermetically sealed indoor environment, but the reality is that parasites and the risk of infectious disease are everywhere. Your pet could still be exposed to parasites and disease in the following ways:

Your pet could escape – cats especially are notorious for slipping out of doors and windows accidentally left open by a family member, guest, or repair worker. By the time you notice your pet is missing, she could be exposed to any number of diseases and parasites. If a lost pet ends up in a shelter, her risk of exposure rises exponentially.

Wildlife entering your home – it’s not as uncommon as you might think. And cats – even indoor cats – are mighty hunters. Your indoor pet is likely to jump at the chance to put their hunting skills to work on a moth, beetle, mouse, or bat that finds its way into your home. This increases their risk of contracting tapeworms and other parasites or even being exposed to rabies.

Mosquitoes can and will enter your home, no matter how good your screens are. They carry heartworm disease, which can be deadly for cats and dogs alike.  There’s no treatment for cats, and treatment for dogs is complicated and expensive. Prevention of heartworm disease is crucial for indoor pets.

Fleas and ticks can easily enter your home by hitching a ride on you, your family, or another pet. With the warm, humid climate in many of our homes, fleas have a perfect breeding ground and you can easily have an infestation on your hands. Year round parasite prevention, even for indoor pets, is an easy way to prevent this problem.

Latent flare-ups – most pets are exposed to certain parasites and diseases as babies. Some intestinal parasites and viruses, such as feline herpesvirus, can lie dormant and reemerge with stress or a weakened immune system. Year round parasite control and vaccination can keep potential illnesses under control.

Changes in life circumstances – change is the only constant there is in life. Divorce, death, and moving can pop up unexpectedly, and these could all impact your indoor pet’s exposure to disease. Vaccines and preventives for indoor pets are the best way to make sure he or she is always protected.

The law – in Texas, as in most of the United States, the law requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. Because of the risk to humans, all pets must be vaccinated regardless of whether they live indoors or out.

Vaccines and Preventives for Indoor Pets

A core vaccine is one that all dogs and cats receive, with few exceptions. Core vaccines protect pets against serious, highly contagious, and life threatening disease. In cats, core vaccines are feline distemper and rabies. In dogs, core vaccines include rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, and parainfluenza. Your veterinarian will work with you to come up with a plan for both core and non-core vaccines your indoor pet should receive.

Zoonotic disease and the risks of parasite infestation are a reality of life no matter where you live. Protecting all your pets year round is the best way to ensure a long, happy and healthy life for your pets. If you have questions about your individual pet’s health needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.