Oswego County Health Department Announces First Positive Rabies Cases of 2023

April 14, 2023

The Oswego County Health Department received notice of the first three rabies positive animals in 2023. Raccoons in the towns of Oswego and Richland along with a fox in the town of Granby have tested positive for the virus.

The health department reminds residents of the dangers of the rabies disease and encourages pet owners to take advantage of the department’s rabies vaccination clinics.

“The rabies virus remains active year-round, but activity increases as the weather warms and wild animals become more active,” said Oswego County Director of Environmental Health Katelyn Parkhurst. “It’s important to remember that rabies is almost always fatal to mammals if left untreated. The most effective way to protect you and your family against rabies is by vaccinating your pets.”

The next clinic will be held on Wednesday, May 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Pulaski DPW Garage, located at 957 Centerville Rd. in Pulaski.

Beginning Wednesday, April 26, residents can call 315-349-3564 to make an appointment for the May 3 clinic. Throughout the year, appointments will be scheduled clinic-by-clinic and an announcement for the opening of the appointment phone line will be made before each clinic.

The appointment phone line will be open weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. until all appointments are filled. Please do not call the after-hours answering service to schedule an appointment for the rabies clinic.

Those who are unable to keep their appointment are asked to call back and cancel it, so that others may have the opportunity to schedule one of the limited appointments.

In 2022, Oswego County Health Department staff:

  • vaccinated 1,437 cats, dogs and ferrets against rabies.
  • confirmed six positive cases of rabies including two bats, two foxes and two raccoons.
  • provided 47 people in Oswego County with post-exposure rabies treatments.
  • submitted 72 animals to the state health department to be tested for rabies.

“This past year, our health department responded to 669 calls involving possible rabies incidents,” said Oswego County Public Health Director Vera Dunsmoor. “We urge residents to call us immediately if they suspect potential rabies exposure. Our staff works diligently alongside veterinary care providers to determine the best approach during these investigations.”

Rabies vaccination clinics are conducted for dogs, cats and ferrets. All clinics are on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. Upcoming clinics will be held at the following locations:

  • May 17: County Highway Garage, 24 Dill Pickle Alley, Parish.
  • June 7: Hastings Town Highway Garage, Wilson Rd., Central Square.
  • July 12: Granby Town Highway Garage, 820 Co. Rte. 8, Fulton.
  • 9: Bristol Hill Landfill Facility, maintenance building, 3125 NYS Rte. 3, Fulton.
  • 13: County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Rd., Pulaski
  • 11: County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Dr., Oswego.

There is a suggested donation of $7 per animal.

Pets must be at least three months of age to be vaccinated. Those receiving their first rabies shot must get a booster shot within one year.

Proof of previous vaccination is required to qualify for a three-year certificate. Accepted forms of proof include a certificate of vaccination obtained from a veterinarian or the Oswego County Health Department’s Environmental Division, or a dog license showing rabies expiration date.

The following protocols will be in effect at all clinics:

  • Do not attend the clinic if you or your pet are ill.
  • There is a limit of four pets per family. Only the individuals handling the animals should attend the clinic. Young children are not recommended to enter the building unless absolutely necessary. If children are left in the car, they should be properly supervised.
  • People must control their pets at all times. Pets must be caged and/or leashed with a fixed length no longer than six feet. Cats and ferrets should be in a carrier.
  • Attendees are asked to arrive no more than 10 minutes early to their appointment and follow signs and instructions from clinic staff.

All animal bites, whether from a domestic animal or wildlife, should be reported to the Oswego County Health Department as soon as possible. Health Department staff will work with residents and health care providers to determine if rabies treatment is needed.

To report an animal bite or seek guidance concerning potential exposures to rabies, call the Oswego County Health Department at 315-349-3557, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or at 315-341-0086 after regular business hours, weekends and holidays. Please do not call the after-hours number to make a rabies vaccination appointment. Use it only for incidents involving potential exposure.

For more information about rabies, go to www.cdc.gov/rabies or  https://health.oswegocounty.com/programs/environmental1/rabies_program2.php.