We often are asked “Why do I need to get the rabies vaccine if my pets never go outside where they can be exposed to rabies?” The simple answer is any indoor pet can get loose and run out the door. In addition, rabid animals do not act like normal animals and there are accounts of raccoons breaking thru screens and coming indoors or wandering into homes thru the basement or garage. It is also common for bats, which have a high incidence of rabies, to find their way indoors through small cracks.
The most important reason to get the rabies vaccine for your indoor pet is because it is the law. “Any person living in Pennsylvania, owning or keeping a pet 3 months of age or older, shall have the animal vaccinated against rabies” as stated under Chapter 16 of Pennsylvania Code.
Also, the consequences are quite severe for an unvaccinated pet. There are strict laws for unvaccinated animals with a bite or a scratch of unknown origin and for an unvaccinated animal that has bitten a human. Unvaccinated animals that have a bite or scratch of unknown origin or have bitten someone must be either euthanized or quarantined for a six month period. It less expensive to vaccinate your pet regularly then to have to quarantine your pet at a veterinary hospital for the six month period that is required by law. These penalties may seem severe, but remember that once the symptoms appear; there is no treatment for rabies.
It is important to remember to vaccinate your pet ferret against rabies also. By law it is mandated that they be vaccinated regularly. It is important to vaccinate any warm blooded pet to prevent the possible transmission of rabies to fellow pets and humans. Although the incidence of rabies cases in ferrets is low, it is important to air on the side of caution when dealing with rabies.
Rabies is a fatal disease transmittable to all warm blooded mammals and has considerable impact on public as well as veterinary health. Keeping your pets vaccinations up to date, including exclusively indoor pets, is extremely important and the only way to prevent this deadly disease and diminish the number of cases annually.