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April 16, 2013

pets

Mangano Announces Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic For Dogs, Cats And Ferrets

- Open To All Nassau County Residents

In an effort to prevent the spread of rabies, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today announced that Nassau County will partner with the Town of North Hempstead to offer free rabies vaccinations for dogs, cats and ferrets.  Open to all Nassau County residents, the clinic will be held on Saturday, May 4th from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter, 75 Marino Avenue, Port Washington, New York 11050.

“This partnership is an excellent opportunity for pet-owners to protect their animals against rabies,” said County Executive Ed Mangano.  “The best protection from rabies is to assure that pets are up-to-date with their vaccinations. I invite and urge all Nassau County residents to take advantage of this free vaccination clinic.”

New York State law requires all dogs, cats and domesticated ferrets to be vaccinated against rabies. If an unvaccinated pet or one that is overdue on its vaccination comes in contact with a rabid or suspected rabid animal, the pet must either be destroyed or strictly quarantined for six months. However, if a vaccinated animal comes into contact with a wild animal, it needs only a booster vaccination, but this immunization must be administered within five days of exposure.

Raccoon rabies was identified in the county in 2004, since then 67 raccoons have tested positive for the disease.  “Due to the successful public health efforts of the Nassau County Department of Health, I am proud to announce that Nassau County has not had a raccoon test positive for rabies since 2007,” said Mangano.

Rabies is transmitted by the bite of a rabid animal. However, the virus may also be transmitted when the saliva of a rabid animal comes into contact with cut, open, or scratched skin lesions. To protect from exposure to possible rabies, residents are advised to take the following measures:

  • Keep domestic animals (dogs, cats, ferrets) on a leash and keep livestock confined in the evenings.
  • Advise your family against approaching any unknown animal -- wild or domestic -- especially those acting in an unusual way.
  • Do not touch dead animals. If you must move them, use a shovel, wear heavy rubber gloves and double bag the carcass.
  • Do not touch or have contact with any animal other than your own.
  • Instruct your children to tell you immediately if they were bitten or scratched by any animal.
  • Notify the Nassau County Department of Health immediately if a bat is found in a room where people were sleeping or if an adult enters a room and finds a bat with a child. Do not release the bat.
  • Do not feed unknown animals and discourage them from seeking food near your home by keeping garbage cans tightly covered. Avoid storing any food including pet food outside.
  • Verify that your pets have current rabies vaccination, including dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock and horses.

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

For 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.