2019 Madison County rabies clinics begin

The Madison County Health Department’s first rabies vaccination clinic for 2019 is Wednesday, March 20, at the Madison Fire Department, 7362 Route 20, from 5 to 7 p.m.

April clinics are Saturday, April 6, at the Chittenango Fire Department, 417 Genesee St., Chittenango, from 9 a.m. to noon, and Tuesday, April 23, at the Madison County Soil & Water Conservation District, 6503 Wes Road, Hamilton from 5 to 7 p.m.

Vaccinations are offered free to Madison County residents. Voluntary donations are appreciated to help defray clinic costs.

Proof of previous vaccination is required to qualify for a three-year certificate. All animals must be at least three months of age and properly restrained using a leash and collar, harness, cage or pet carrier.

Public health law requires all dogs, cats and ferrets to be vaccinated by 4 months of age. A second vaccination must be given within one year of the first, and pets must be actively immunized against rabies thereafter. This typically requires a booster vaccination every three years for dogs and cats, and annually for ferrets. Owners of any dog, cat or ferret not current with their rabies vaccinations are in violation of public health law, and subject to a fine of up to $200 for each offense.

Rabies continues to be a problem in New York State and in Madison County. If you are bitten, scratched, or have contact with any pet or wild animal you believe to be rabid, immediately wash the wound and seek medical attention if needed. Promptly call to report the incident to the Madison County Health Department at 315-366-2526, or call the Health Department in the county you live.

Note that rabies exposures may also occur from contact with a pet that has fought with a rabid animal. Vaccinated animals that come in contact with a wild animal can receive a rabies booster within five days of exposure to be protected from the rabies virus.

Pet owners who have an unvaccinated pet that comes into contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, must choose to either euthanize the pet or place the unvaccinated pet into strict quarantine for six months at the owner’s expense per current public health law. Avoid this decision by ensuring your dog, cat or ferret is up to date with its rabies vaccinations.

For more 2019 rabies vaccination clinics, visit healthymadisoncounty.org or call 315-366-2526.

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