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Oswego County’s Last Rabies Vaccine Clinic is Oct. 20

OSWEGO COUNTY – The Oswego County Health Department will hold its last rabies clinic of the season from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20 at Oswego County Highway Garage, 31 Schaad Dr., Scriba.

“While this is our last rabies clinic of the year, the virus remains active during the winter months and I strongly encourage people to take advantage of this opportunity to get their pets vaccinated,” said Judy Grandy, director of the Environmental Health Division in the Oswego County Health Department. “The rabies virus can infect any mammal and is nearly always fatal if left untreated. Immunizing pets is the most effective protection from the disease.”

Starting Thursday, Oct. 14, residents can call 315-349-3557 to schedule an appointment. This 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.

Grandy added, “If you have an appointment, please make it a priority to show up. If you cannot make it to your appointment, please call the office and cancel. Unfortunately, once our schedule is full, we must turn people away. With the emphasis on making appointments, having a significant number of ‘no-shows’ at our clinics denies other people the opportunity to get their pets vaccinated.”

She reminds residents that making an appointment for your pet is one of the COVID-19 protocols that remains in place for all rabies clinics.

Other COVID-19 protocols include:

  • Do not attend the clinic if you – or your pet – are ill.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 entering the building must wear a mask or face covering and practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others whenever possible.
  • Pets must be under control at all times. No mingling with other pets and people.
  • There will be no “walk-ins.” Appointments are required.

Pet owners are asked to arrive no more than 10 minutes early to their appointment and to wait in their car to be called in. Please follow signs and instructions from clinic staff. Those who miss their assigned appointment may not be served.

There will be limitations for both pets and people. No more than four pets per family and no more than two adults, or an adult and a child aged 14 and older, per car. Parents must make sure that younger children are properly supervised in the car as they will not be allowed into the building.

Pets must be caged and/or leashed with a fixed length no longer than six feet. Cats and ferrets should be in a carrier. People must maintain control of their pets. Veterinary staff will not be able to leave their stations to deliver shots to a pet in the vehicle.

The health department suggests a $7 donation per animal to help defray clinic costs.

New York State law requires that all cats, dogs, and ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. The first rabies vaccine should be given at three months of age. Ferrets must be vaccinated annually. Dogs and cats require a second vaccination within one year of the first, and then every three years thereafter. 

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 315-341-0086 after regular business hours, weekends, and holidays. Please do not call this number after hours to schedule an appointment for a rabies clinic.

Additional information about rabies can be found at https://health.oswegocounty.com/programs/environmental1/rabies_program2.php and www.cdc.gov/rabies.