Rabid Raccoon Found in Oswego

OSWEGO — The Oswego County Health Department reported today (Jan. 24) that a raccoon has tested positive for rabies in the city of Oswego. This is the third case of rabies confirmed in Oswego County since late December.

Two dogs on the west side of Oswego were exposed to the rabid raccoon last week. Both dogs were up-to-date on their rabies vaccines and will require a rabies booster.

Dogs, cats and ferrets should receive their first rabies vaccine at three months of age. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter.

Ferrets must be vaccinated annually.

“The best way to prevent being exposed to rabies is to vaccinate all pets. Vaccinated pets serve as a buffer between rabid wildlife and humans. When you vaccinate your pets, you may reduce your risk of exposure to rabies,” said Jiancheng Huang, Public Health Director for the Oswego County Health Department.

“In several recent cases, not this case, we found many owners did not vaccinate or update their pet’s vaccination,” said Huang. “I would encourage residents to make sure  their pets’ rabies immunization are up-to-date.”

The rabies virus can remain active in the environment throughout the year.

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

Health officials advise people to be wary of any animals that act abnormally. Mammals that are aggressive or tame, show no fear of humans, wander aimlessly, are disoriented, or appear to be sick or paralyzed could be infected with rabies or other diseases.

People should report all animal bites or contact with wild animals to their local health department.

“Any encounter with a potentially rabid animal must be investigated as soon as possible to determine if a person or domestic pet may have been exposed to the rabies virus,” said Huang. “Treatment can prevent rabies from developing in humans who have been exposed to the virus.”

The Health Department’s environmental team is available around the clock to respond to incidents that involve possible exposure to rabies.

If it’s determined that an animal needs to be tested for rabies, arrangements are made to have the specimen tested by the New York State Health Department.  If it’s determined there was possible exposure to humans or pets, the health department will advise on the proper treatment procedures.

To report a possible rabies exposure in Oswego County, 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 department’s answering service at 341-0086.

For more information visit http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies/.


  1. seems to me that even if your pet is vaccinated against rabies…that only protects the pet if it comes into contact with a rabid animal. If that rabid animal leaves infected fluids on your pet and your pet comes home with it on it…you pet your pet unbeknownst to you that there’s rabies infected saliva on the fur, doesn’t that now expose you to it? And you wouldn’t even know it since you yourself had no incident with a wild, rabid animal….????

  2. The rabies virus is considered to be a “fragile” virus under most normal conditions and it dies easily. If you saw your dog fight with a rabid raccoon and in the excitement of getting your dog away from the animal you put your hands on the dog right away, then that MAY constitute a viable exposure IF, since the virus cannot penetrate healthy skin, you put your hands in saliva and you had an open wound on your hand or put your hand up to your eyes. With your scenario of the dog having saliva on its fur and coming home with it, then the chance of there being a viable exposure drops considerably. Although there are a number of reasons why, simply put, the virus dies after prolonged exposure to sunlight and after drying out. If your dog had a lot of saliva on its fur then it would likely be very obvious and common sense would suggest not putting your hand into an unknown substance that’s on your dog. If there was very little saliva on the dog then chances would be good that during the day sunlight would kill the virus or the saliva dry before the dog got home.
    Obviously there could be a number of other factors that might come into play….is it raining, how long did it take for the dog to get home after the interaction, is it day or night, etc. Rabies is all across NYS, up and down the Eastern part of the country and in many States in the Union. A pet owner or any owner of domestic animals, should educate themselves about this virus. As with many issues in this day & age, there is quite a bit of poor information circulating about this virus. Call your local County Health Dept to get the best and most up-to-date info available.

  3. Still, isn’t it time Oswego City gave Skunks/Racoons/Possums get the same attention as we are giving zombie properties and sewer issues, which seems to be a primary focus for the Council and Mayor’s Office.

    This IS a serious issue, after all, not something to be taken lightly, although residents often laugh about it. But, now Oswego can be known as a Skunk City the same way Syracuse was 100 years ago, because we don’t do anything about the problem, esp. when residents don’t put a lid on their garbage cans…which should be mandated.

    However,I think most of us can deal with the rabbits, though! :0)

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