Rabid raccoon confirmed in Avon
Test results for a raccoon killed in the Town of Avon July 8 have come back positive for rabies. A bat found in Conesus earlier this year also tested positive for the disease.
According to Livingston County Public Health Director Joan H. Ellison, rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system in mammals. It is largely found in raccoons, skunks, and bats in many areas including Livingston County.
Other mammals including unvaccinated dogs and cats are at risk for getting rabies. New York State Law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets be vaccinated.
It is important to note that there is no way to tell if an animal is rabid just by looking at it. Caution should be taken around any unfamiliar animals, especially cats. Sometimes wild or feral cats will act like they are domesticated. Wild animals should always be avoided.
Signs of rabies in wildlife include: inability to walk, appearance of “drunkenness”, unwillingness to drink water or eat, frothing at the mouth, aggressive behavior and a massive swing in temperament.
The best form of defense for keeping your pet safe is to keep them vaccinated. An unvaccinated pet that comes into contact with a rabid animal must be kept in strict confinement for six months or euthanized. Rabies is a very prevalent and deadly disease.
Below are some tips to help prevent rabies:
• Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
• Wash any wound from an animal thoroughly with soap and water, and seek medical attention immediately.
• If your family or your pet has been exposed to a bat, capture the bat and have it tested for rabies. If you awaken to find a bat in your bedroom, or a bat is present in the room of an unattended or sleeping child or in a room where someone with a mental impairment, seek medical advice and have the bat tested. To catch a bat, do the following:
• Get a container with a lid and a stiff piece of cardboard
• Close all windows and doors in the room and don’t take your eyes off the bat
• Wear gloves if possible and always be safe.
• When the bat lands, approach it slowly and place the container over it.
• Slide the cardboard under the container opening to trap the bat inside
• Cover the container or tape the cardboard to the container so it is shut and secure
• Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pets vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.
A free rabies clinic for dogs, cats and ferrets will be scheduled in September or October. Interested persons are advised to check the Livingston County Department of Health website at www.co.livingston.state.ny.us/pubhlth.htm) as September approaches. It will be held at the Livingston County Highway Department complex at Hampton Corners.
It is important to be aware of the facts and use caution to protect both your family and your pets. If you have any questions or would like further information on rabies, please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7280 or 335-1717.