Oswego County Health Department Holds Rabies Clinic July 6 in Hannibal

HANNIBAL – The Oswego County Health Department will hold its next rabies clinic July 6, at the Hannibal  Town Highway Garage, 68 Cemetery Drive, Hannibal.

“The rabies virus is active across Oswego County,” said Jiancheng Huang, Oswego County Public Health Director. “We have had four animals test positive for rabies this year, in the towns of Mexico, Albion, Minetto and Scriba. Immunizing pets is required by law and is an effective way to reduce the risk of human exposures to rabies.”

The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.

Bats are a common carrier of rabies, and Huang advises people to try to avoid any contact with bats, especially one that is outdoors during daylight, on the ground, or appears to be paralyzed.

If a bat is found in the home, the health department advises residents to capture the bat so it may be tested for rabies.

The state Department of Health has developed a short video with instructions on how to safely capture a bat indoors.

To view the video, go to http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/

Any time a person or pet is bitten by a domestic or wild animal, and any time that a person or pet comes in physical contact with a bat or a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be immediately reported to the County Health Department.

To report a possible exposure, or for more information about rabies, call the Health Department weekdays at 349-3564 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3564.

In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the health department’s answering service at 341-0086.

New York State law requires that all cats, dogs, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies.

The first rabies vaccine should be given at three months of age.

Ferrets must be vaccinated annually.

Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter.

In order for pets to receive the 3-year booster shot, owners need to show that the pet was previously vaccinated.

Owners should bring their pet’s last rabies vaccination certificate with them to the clinic.

Clinics will be held at these locations this summer and fall:

– Hannibal: July 6, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 68 Cemetery Drive.
– Volney: Aug. 3, 6 to 8 p.m., Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance garage, 3125 State Route 3.
– Parish: Sept. 7, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 24 Dill Pickle Alley.
– Pulaski: Oct. 5, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.
– Scriba: Nov. 2, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive.

The health department suggests a $7 donation per animal to help cover the cost of the rabies clinics, but no one will be turned away.

Dogs should be leashed and cats and pet ferrets should be in a carrier.

Please leave sick pets at home.

To reduce the risk of rabies in animals and humans, people should take the following steps:
– Make sure that dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccines.
– Do not feed pets outdoors.
– Never try to feed a wild animal.
– Do not approach or touch unfamiliar animals.
– Avoid any animal with symptoms of rabies.
– Block any openings into the home that an animal may get through.
– Keep tamper-proof lids on outside garbage cans so animals are not attracted to your property.
– Teach children basic rules about protecting themselves from strange and unfamiliar animals.

For more information on rabies visit www.oswegocounty.com/health/rabies.pdf  or www.cdc.gov/rabies.