We know quite a few wild animals in Ontario County carry the rabies virus; foxes, skunks, and raccoons, to name a few. That's why it's a law that all dogs, cats and ferrets need to be vaccinated against rabies. We offer six FREE rabies clinics throughout the county every year.
Whenever a person is bitten by a dog or cat public health law states that pet's health needs to be monitored in the owner's home for ten days. To be extra cautious we do this for all animals just to be positive they don't have rabies which they could give to someone when they bite them. You cannot get rabies from the blood, urine or feces of a rabid animal, or from touching or petting it. But once you come down with the symptoms of rabies it's fatal.
Wild animals that have bitten a person are euthanized and submitted to the New York State Lab in Albany for rabies testing. If positive, rabies vaccine is initiated. Four vaccinations are administered over the course of 14 days through one of our local emergency departments.
What does this mean to you?
Enjoy watching the animals in your community but always keep your distance. Keep pet food, birdseed and garbage in sealed containers. If an animal appears sick or wounded, leave it alone. Most all the time they wander off on their own. Report aggressive animals to Ontario County Public Health if they are preventing you from leaving your home or moving about your yard.
A small number of bats also carry the rabies virus. Possible bat exposures are handled on a very individual basis. All bat exposures should be reported to the Rabies Coordinator at Ontario County Public Health. 585-396-4343 or 1-800-299-2995.
Because we have documented rabies in Ontario County, it is New York State law that ALL dogs, cats and ferrets in Ontario County be vaccinated against rabies.