Keep people & pets protected from rabies, health officials caution

Rabies protection

CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Health officials are reminding people to keep their pets and themselves protected from rabies.

They're saying it's even more important now that two positive cases of rabies in wild animals were found in Jefferson County this week.

It took only seconds for pets at a rabies clinic in Clayton to get their rabies vaccine, a short amount of time to protect them from the deadly virus.

Jefferson County Health Planner Faith Lustik says even indoor animals need their shots.

"You want to make sure your pets are vaccinated, that's the number one thing," she said. "Because, even if your pet doesn't go outside, it can still be exposed to rabies."

This week a bat tested positive for rabies in Jefferson County.

It made its way into the home of a family while they slept.

Because bats teeth are so small, you can't see their bite marks.

Now that family has to get rabies shots.

Lustik advises people to trap any bats that enter the house and call Public Health for rabies testing.

She says if you can't tell if you've been bitten by a rabid bat, get treated immediately.

"It's fatal, 100 percent fatal," she said, "so you don't want to come down with symptoms, because once you have symptoms, there is no treatment."

David Scudder took his dog Ruger to the Clayton clinic Thursday.

He strongly recommends all pet owners take the time to get their animals vaccinated.

"Dogs need it, humans need it," Scudder said. "Keep them healthy and safe because there's things out there that can't be treated."

According to New York state law, cats and dogs 12 weeks and older receiving their first rabies vaccine will have to get a shot that's good for one year, and they'll receive a certificate.

The next shot will last for three years, but you have to bring the certificate from the first shot, otherwise your pet will have to get another one-year shot."

Public Health has another rabies vaccine clinic on Tuesday in Cape Vincent

Visit their Facebook page for the full schedule.

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