Public health officials in Livingston County say a state lab has confirmed that a raccoon in the town of Livonia tested positive for rabies on Thursday. The raccoon was involved in an altercation with a cat that was reportedly vaccinated against the rabies virus.
Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system in mammals. It is most often found in raccoons, skunks, and bats in Livingston County. All mammals, including unvaccinated dogs, cats, and farm animals are at risk for getting rabies. There is no way to tell if an animal is rabid just by looking at it. Wild or feral animals should always be avoided. Signs of rabies in wildlife can include:
- Inability to walk
- Appearance of ‘drunkenness’
- Unwillingness to drink water or eat
- Aggressive behavior
- Significant changes in temperament
All potential rabies exposures should be reported to the Livingston County Department of Health.
Below are important steps you can follow to prevent rabies.
- Stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
- Thoroughly wash any wound from an animal with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention.
- Avoid wild and feral animals, especially if the animal is showing any sign of rabies.
- Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current. Getting your pet vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans. New York State Law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations beginning at 4 months of age. An unvaccinated pet that comes into contact with a rabid animal must be kept in strict confinement for six months or be euthanized.
Free rabies clinics are offered for dogs, cats, and ferrets every year in Livingston County. 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 or rabies vaccination clinics, please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7280 or visit www.livingstoncounty.us/eh.
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