The winner of our Rabies Coloring Contest held in September 2023.
Our Required Activities
As a local health department we are responsible for rabies surveillance, prevention and control. Our activities include:
- Following NYS Public Health Law that regulates rabies investigations for people and animals;
- Issuing notices of confinement or quarantine as necessary to prevent potential disease spread;
- Ensuring people receive treatment for rabies exposures (called rabies post exposure prophylaxis (PEP);
- Providing rabies education & outreach;
- Providing free vaccination clinics throughout the county; and
- Completing all rabies reporting requirements.
Rabies Vaccination Law & Vaccination Clinics
New York State rabies law requires all pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) to be vaccinated against rabies by 4 months of age.
First time vaccinations of pets are good for 1 year. Booster vaccinations – those received after prior vaccination – are effective for 3 years.
This Pet Owner Fact Sheet is a good list of frequently asked questions and answers about pet ownership and rabies. Pets too young to be vaccinated should be kept on a leash when outdoors or in a physically confined area.
Until the November 2nd Elizabethtown Clinic! Register ⬇
2023 Rabies Clinics
Rabies Vaccination Clinics for Pets
This Department provides free rabies vaccine clinics for all pet dogs, cats and ferrets throughout Essex County every year. Donations of $5 per pet is appreciated.
To ensure the safety of our staff, residents & pets, please:
- Pre-register for the clinic above or by calling 518-873-3500;
- Expect a “drive-up” clinic flow. Remain in your vehicle and await instructions.
- Anyone with proof of previous vaccination is asked to snap a picture & email it to:
All others will be given a 1 year certificate. Those that bring proof of prior vaccination (certificate) will be mailed a 3 year certificate.
You must have a certificate as proof of vaccination.
This Department is not able to accept a tag as proof of vaccination.
**Keep pets in vehicles unless directed otherwise.
Rabies Clinics 2023 – Full list of dates and locations
NOTE: We know how busy pet clinics can be. Pre-registration helps people & pets move most quickly through the clinic line; it doesn’t mean those who have pre-registered won’t have to wait in line. Our goal is to serve 60 pets/hour – that’s 1 pet/minute!
Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system and if untreated, leads to death.
The virus is found in saliva, mucous membrane (eyes, nose, mouth) & nervous tissue (brain and spinal cord) fluid of infected animals.
Animals That Get Rabies
Only mammals (including people) can get rabies.
In our area, rabies most often occurs in wild animals including raccoons, fox, coyotes, skunk, porcupines, groundhogs and bats.
Livestock including cattle, horses, goat, sheep and swine, can also get rabies.
Small rodents like mice, squirrels, chipmunks, rats and rabbits rarely get rabies.
Reptiles and amphibians don’t get rabies.
Handling Dead Animals
- Wear gloves and use a shovel to pick up the animal
- Double bag, knot and throw away the animal OR bury the animal 3’ deep
- Wash gloves and shovel with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for about 20 minutes
- Thoroughly wash hands with soap & water
Exposure to Rabies
Exposure to the rabies virus most often happens by an infected animal biting another animal.
Exposures can also happen if infectious material from a rabid animal (saliva, brain tissue, spinal fluid) has contact with an open wound or mucous membrane. Direct contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal where a bite, open wound or mucous membrane contact cannot be ruled out – such as a bat in a room with a sleeping person, unattended child, intoxicated or otherwise mentally compromised person – are considered exposures. If there is any chance of exposure to a bat contact this health department immediately to discuss the situation.
Indirect contact – being in the same space, contact with feces or an object that had contact with a rabid or potentially rabid animal – is not considered an exposure.
If you have been bitten, scratched or have had contact with the saliva of an animal that you believe is rabid, wash the wound immediately with soap and water, and call your health care provider for care of wounds and a consult.
If your doctor recommends treatment, call this Department for assistance in planning treatment. It is critical that before seeking rabies treatment – post exposure prophylaxis shots – the bite or exposure is reported to this Department.
Mon-Fri 8 AM – 5 PM 518-873-3500
After Business Hours, Weekends , Holidays 1-877-270-7249
- Not all bats have rabies. In fact most bats don’t have rabies.
- Rabies is found in all bat species in NY.
- Rabies can be transmitted from bats to other mammals but rabid bats rarely attack people.
- Rabid bats may show unusual behavior like fluttering on the ground, flying during the day, or biting people or animals.
- Avoid direct contact with all bats – bats have small teeth that may leave marks not easily seen.
- If there is a chance a bat had direct contact with a person or pet OR if you awaken to or find a bat in a room where someone was sleeping, try to catch it so it can be given to Essex County Health Department & tested.
- Call 873-3500 for advice on what to do and watch this short video on the best way to capture a bat.
If a Stray or Wild Animal is Near Your House
- Stay away & let it go away on its own
- You can contact a nuisance control officer to remove it
- Avoid killing an animal as this increases your risk for rabies exposure
If You or Your Pet is bitten or has another exposure
- Wash the wound with soap and water
- Contact your veterinarian – the vet will decide if your pet needs to be vaccinated again
- Report all animal bites /exposures to Essex County Health Department
Protect Your Pets and Livestock
The rabies virus can take weeks to months to incubate in an animal before the animal acts unusually or rabid. Protect yourself, your pets and livestock :
- Keep pet dogs, cats & ferrets up-to-date on their rabies vaccines
- Vaccinate livestock as recommended by your veterinarian
- Stay away from wild and stray animals
- Avoid attracting stray and wild animals
* Store bird seed, pet food & garbage indoors.
* Do not feed pets outdoors.
* Tightly lock outdoor compost & garbage.
Behavior of animals with rabies
Animals with rabies may show unusual behavior for their species –
Once an animal starts showing unusual behavior due to rabies it will typically die within 10 days or less.
Wildlife Rehabilitators are licensed through NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Find a wildlife Rehabilitator Near Your (search by county).