Judy Grandy, Director of Environmental Health for the Oswego County Health Department, said there have already been two confirmed rabid raccoons in Oswego County this year. “One raccoon was found in the town of Sandy Creek and the other was in the town of Hannibal,” she said. “The only exposure was to a pet dog that fought with one of the raccoons. Since it was vaccinated prior to the incident, only a rabies booster shot was required.”
Unvaccinated dogs, cats, and ferrets exposed to a rabid animal must be euthanized immediately or placed in strict isolation for six months. When a vaccinated pet is exposed to a rabid animal, the pet needs only to receive a booster shot.
Grandy said immunizing pets is the most effective way to protect humans and their pets from the rabies virus. The rabies virus is nearly 100 percent fatal to mammals and can infect any mammal. “Finding these rabid raccoons on opposite ends of the county also illustrates how widespread the rabies virus is,” said Grandy. “It is everywhere throughout Central New York.”
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 2019 rabies vaccination clinics for pets will be held in the following locations during the spring, summer and fall:
• Scriba: Wednesday, March 27, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive.
• Pulaski: Wednesday, April 24, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.
• Parish: Wednesday, May 15, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 24 Dill Pickle Alley.
• West Monroe: Wednesday, June 12, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 46 County Rte. 11.
• Granby: Wednesday, July 10, 6 to 8 p.m., Town Highway Garage, 820 Co. Rte. 8.
• Volney: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 6 to 8 p.m., Bristol Hill Landfill maintenance garage, 3125 State Route 3.
• Pulaski: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road.
• Scriba: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 6 to 8 p.m., County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Drive.
Owners should bring their pet’s last rabies vaccination certificate with them to the clinic.
The health department suggests a $7 donation per animal to help defray the clinic cost. Dogs should be leashed, and cats and ferrets should be in a carrier. Please leave sick pets at home.
Any time a person or pet comes in contact with a sick or suspicious-acting animal, the incident should be reported to the county health department as soon as possible. A bite or scratch on the skin should be washed immediately with soap and water.
To report a possible exposure, or for more information about rabies, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3564. In an emergency during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call the health department’s answering service at 315-341-0086.
Additional information about rabies can be found at www.cdc.gov/rabies.