Whenever I hear the word 'rabies', it makes me shudder. Growing up, I was told that if I ever got bit by an animal with rabies, I would have to undergo serious, painful procedures involving needles. Just what a kid needs to hear.

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A couple of years ago, during the pandemic, I was bitten by a stray cat, went to a walk-in clinic to get checked out, and the cat was taken to be checked out for rabies. Fortunately, it did not have rabies. I dodged a bullet there.

If you have a dog, cat, or ferret, protect your pet by getting them vaccinated. The Broome County Health Department along with the Animal Aid & Relief Foundation and local veterinarians are conducting rabies clinics during the year to vaccinate dogs, cats, and ferrets.

Your pet needs to be 3 months old or older to receive a vaccination, and if your pet had a previous rabies vaccination, bring it with you for a 3-year vaccination. Without one, your pet is limited to a 1-year vaccination.

The Broome County Health Department has some tips related to rabies that everyone should be aware of, stating that animal rabies continues to be a severe public health threat throughout New York State.

There are several things you can do to help your family and yourself avoid rabies exposure, and here are a few:

  • If a bat enters your home, use gloves and catch the bat in a container. Contact the Broome County Health Department at 607-778-2847 during business hours Monday through Friday or after hours for emergency guidance at 607-778-1911.
  • Avoid contact with wild animals and stray animals.
  • Make sure pets - yours, friends, or family are up to date on rabies vaccinations.

If you observe any wild animal threatening people or other animals. contact the Broome County Health Department. If your pet is exposed to a rabid animal, check for bites or scratches, isolate your pet from other people and animals, and call the Broome County Health Department.

For more details and tips concerning rabies, including how to catch a bat in your home or workplace, visit the Broome County Health Department website.

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