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Rabies Prevention

What Can You Do to Prevent the Spread of Rabies?

Be a responsible pet owner:

  • Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. This requirement is important not only to keep your pets from getting rabies, but also to provide a barrier of protection to you, if your animal is bitten by a rabid wild animal.
  • Keep your pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal, seek veterinary assistance for the animal immediately.
  • Call your local animal control agency to remove any stray animals from your neighborhood. They may be unvaccinated and could be infected by the disease.
  • Spay or neuter your pets to help reduce the number of unwanted pets that may not be properly cared for or regularly vaccinated.

Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals:

  • Enjoy wild animals (raccoons, skunks, foxes) from afar. Do not handle, feed, or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
  • Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control or an animal rescue agency for assistance.
  • Teach children never to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good principle for children to learn.
  • Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools, and other similar areas, where they might come in contact with people and pets.
  • When traveling abroad, avoid direct contact with wild animals and be especially careful around dogs in developing countries.

Rabies is common in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America where dogs are the major reservoir of rabies. Tens of thousands of people die of rabies each year in these countries. Before traveling abroad, consult with a health care provider, travel clinic, or your health department about the risk of exposure to rabies, pre-exposure prophylaxis, and how you should handle an exposure, should it arise.

Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Program

The Wildlife Services (WS) program of the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working with the Niagara County Department of Health to protect people and pets from the threat of rabies in your area. WS is distributing an oral rabies vaccine (ORV) bait to vaccinate raccoons, skunks, foxes, and coyotes and help stop further spread of rabies. ORV baits are about the size of a matchbox and are coated with fishmeal flavoring or a sweet vanilla wax. ORV baits can be distributed by airplane, helicopter, or car.

ORV bait distribution is planned during mid-late August, starting on or about 14 August 2017 (weather dependent).

If you find ORV baits, leave them alone unless they are where children or pets play.  

To move ORV baits safely, you should:

  • Wear gloves or use a paper towel or plastic bag when picking up the baits.
  • Toss intact baits into a wooded area or other raccoon habitat.
  • Bag and dispose of any damaged baits in the trash.
  • Take precautions by practicing proper hygiene – wash with soap and water any skin or wounds that may have come into contact with ORV baits, especially if the bait was damaged.
  • If you come into direct contact with the vaccine or bait, call (1-888-574-6656).

What if my pet eats the bait? 

  • Don’t panic! A few baits are not harmful, though eating a large number may cause an upset stomach.
  • Do not risk getting bitten or being exposed to the vaccine by taking a bait away from your pet.
  • Check the area for more baits and relocate any remaining baits to a wooded area.
  • If your pet eats a bait, avoid your pet’s saliva for 24 hours, and wash skin or wounds that may have been licked.

If you have questions about bait you have found, call your local health department at: (716) 439-7511


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