July 28, 2008
Rabies Clinic Aug. 6 in Williamstown
The Oswego County Health Department will hold a rabies clinic Wednesday, Aug. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Williamstown Fire Barn on State Route 13.
Evan Walsh, Associate Public Health Sanitarian, said there have been seven confirmed cases of rabies so far this year in Oswego County. They include three raccoons in Richland, Hannibal and Volney; three skunks in Hannibal, Volney, and Hastings; and a rabid cat in Granby.
“The rabies shot is the most effective way of preventing the spread of rabies,” said Walsh, “and all dogs, cats and pet ferrets are required by state law to have current rabies shots.”
Walsh said the rabies virus can infect any mammal, including dogs, cats, livestock, small wildlife, and humans. The vast majority of rabies cases reported each year occur with wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes.
“While the majority of rabies cases involve wild animals, keeping vaccinations current on dogs and cats, including indoor cats, is crucial to prevention,” said Walsh. “Pets can act as a bridge between a rabid wild animal and person, acquiring the virus through a bite and then bringing the virus into the household.”
Pet owners should bring their pet's last rabies certificate to the clinic. The health department suggests a $5 donation per animal to help cover the cost of the rabies clinics, but no one will be turned away.
Any time a person or pet comes in physical contact with a wild animal, it should be immediately reported to the county Health Department. Any bite or scratch on the skin should be immediately and thoroughly washed with soap and water.
To report a possible exposure, or for more information about rabies, call the county 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.
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