Legis. Abrahams Reminds Residents about Free Rabies Vaccinations

Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D- Hempstead) and the Nassau County Department of Health would like to remind all Nassau County residents that a free rabies vaccination clinic for cats, dogs and ferrets is being offered on Saturday, September 25, 2010. The clinic will be held from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. at the Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter, 150 Miller Place, Syosset, New York 11791 and is open to all Nassau County residents.

It is now more important than ever to have your pets immunized for their protection as well as for the safety of your loved ones. There have been 67 rabid raccoons found to date in Nassau County since 2004 and the first year terrestrial rabies was identified in the county.

It is required by the New York State law that all cats, dogs and domesticated ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. If a pet that’s overdue on its vaccination or is entirely unvaccinated and comes into contact with a suspected rabid or rabid animal, the pet must either be strictly quarantined for six months or destroyed. On the other hand if a vaccinated pet comes into contact with a wild animal, a booster vaccination is only needed and the immunization must be administered within five days of exposure.

The transmitting of rabies is done by the bite of a rabid animal. The virus may also be transmitted when the saliva of a rabid animal comes into contact with open, cut or scratched skin lesions. In order to protect from the exposure to possible rabies, residents are recommended to take the following measures:

• Do not touch dead or dying animals. If you must move them, wear heavy rubber gloves, use a shovel and double bag the dead animal.
• Do not have contact or touch any animal other than your own.
• Keep all domestic animals (cats, dogs, ferrets) on a leash and confined in the evenings.
• Advise your loved ones against coming into contact or approaching any unknown animal—domestic or wild—especially those acting in an unusual way.
• Instruct your children to notify you immediately if a bat is found in a room where people are sleeping or if an adult enters a room and finds a bat with a child. Do not release the bat.
• Discourage animals from seeking food near your home by keeping garbage cans tightly covered and do not feed unknown animals. Stay away from storing any food including pet food outside.
• Confirm that your pets have current rabies vaccination, including cats, dogs, ferrets, horses and livestock.

Anyone who has been scratched or bitten by any animal should immediately contact their health care providers or seek medical help at a hospital emergency room and then proceed to call the Nassau County Department of Health.

For more information regarding rabies visit the department website at:
www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/health/index.html or the state website at www.health.state.ny.us/diseases/communicable/zoonoses/rabies or call the Nassau County Department of Health at (516) 227-9663.