Rabies clinic set for Saturday

AMSTERDAM — The Montgomery County Department of Public Health is conducting a low-cost pet vaccination clinic on Saturday at the Amsterdam town highway department, 283 Manny’s Corners Road, from 9 a.m. to noon.

There will be a $10 fee per rabies vaccination at the clinic. Other vaccines will be available at additional fees.

Sara Boerenko, Montgomery County’s public health director, said it’s important for pet owners and the general public that rabies vaccinations be administered to animals.

“The number 1 reason why rabies is such an important issue, is that it’s preventable. Rabies is definitely detrimental to animals, but also to people. If somebody has a rabies exposure or a rabies bite there is a medical protocol that goes along with that. Sometimes people or the animal would have to be quarantined or separated for up to six months. That’s a cost, not only to the pet owner, but to the community, so if we can prevent rabies by giving free vaccinations or a cheap vaccination of $10, it’s just the responsible thing to do,” Boerenko said.

New York state Public Health Law requires that all dogs, cats and domestic ferrets receive rabies vaccinations at no later than 4 months of age. Re-vaccinations are then required one year later and a booster shot every three years. Pet owners are asked to bring proof of their pet’s last rabies vaccination, which will help the vet determine whether the pet will receive a one or three-year vaccination; without it your pet will receive a one-year vaccination only.

For safety purposes, participants in the clinic are required to leash dogs and cats and ferrets must be contained in a pet carrier or box.

According to New York state’s 2015 Rabies Annual Report, the last year for which there are complete statistics, 365 animals in New York state tested positive for the disease. In Montgomery County in 2015 33 different animals were tested, but only three tested positive. For the first six months of 2016 Montgomery County had zero animals tested for rabies.

Fulton County in 2015 had 13 animals tested, but no positive cases. In the first six months of 2016, Fulton County had 2 animals tested, both cats, but neither tested positive.

More information about rabies cases, tabulated by the New York state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center, is available at www.wadsworth.org.

On June 24 the Montgomery County Department of Public Health will host another pet vaccination clinic, this one at the Canajoharie Fire Dept. garage, 39 Mohawk St., Canajoharie, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The rabies vaccinations at the Canajoharie clinic will be free-of-charge to Montgomery County residents, but donations will be accepted to help defray program costs. The clinic is open to everyone and the suggested donation is $10.

Montgomery County Communications Specialist Andrew Santillo said Montgomery County tries to host at least one pet vaccinations per month.

“I think these vaccination clinics are pretty well attended. The County Public Health Department tries to hold them out in some of the rural areas of the county, and they do a good job of spreading them out across the whole county,” Santillo said.

By Patricia Older

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