Herkimer County Health Department urging pet owners to get the rabies vaccine

The Herkimer County Health Department is holding a series of rabies clinics to urge pet owners to prevent the spread of the viral disease.

Posted: Jun 6, 2019 10:42 PM
Updated: Jun 6, 2019 11:11 PM

MIDDLEVILLE, N.Y. - The Herkimer County Health Department is holding a series of rabies clinics to urge pet owners to prevent the spread of the viral disease.

"Rabies is basically 100 percent fatal," Diane Ward, community health nurse with the Herkimer County Health Department said. "There’s 55,000 deaths a year from rabies worldwide."

Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal.

Last year, there were 11 cases of rabies all together in our area. So far this year, we've already seen more than half that number.

Local experts say the number of cases each year is unpredictable.

"It goes in cycles, some years we have quite a few, some years it's lower, we never know, it works on cycles," Ward said.

An important thing to know is that symptoms from the virus don't always show right away, but some of the symptoms are similar to the flu, and others are behavioral symptoms.

"The important thing is, is just watch them for changes in behavior, you know if you have a normally loving pet that sometimes becomes aggressive," Ward said. Sometimes the hydrophobic where they’re afraid of water or their drooling because they can’t swallow."

Rabies is most commonly found in wild animals such as raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes. There are symptoms to pay attention to when coming across wild animals.

"Some animals become more aggressive, other animals become docile, more wanting to play with you like that raccoon that comes to you and wants to pet it, that’s kind of not normal, you know, sometimes you might find a skunk that’s challenging you or trying to attack you, that’s not normal," Ward said.

Ward says the best things you can do to make sure your pets are safe are educate yourself, pay attention, and get the vaccination, even if you think you can't afford it.

"As long as they're vaccinated, they're well protected," Ward said. "We have a suggested $5 donation per animal, but if you don’t have money we won’t turn you away."

Thursday nights clinic was held at the Middleville Fire Department. There are six more rabies clinics left this year for Herkimer County.

June 19th:
Ilion-Frankfort VFW Pavilion
5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

July 11th:
Danube Town Garage
5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

August 28th:
Salisbury Fire Department
5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

September 19th:
Cedarvillle Fire Department
5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

October 3rd:
Little Falls Town Garage
5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.

November 2nd:
East Herkimer Fire Department
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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