Rabies is a fatal but preventable viral disease. It can spread to people and pets if they are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal. In the United States, rabies is mostly found in wild animals like bats, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. However, in many other countries dogs still carry rabies, and most rabies deaths in people around the world are caused by dog bites.

The rabies virus infects the central nervous system. If a person does not receive the appropriate medical care after a potential rabies exposure, the virus can cause disease in the brain, ultimately resulting in death. Rabies can be prevented by vaccinating pets, staying away from wildlife, and seeking medical care after potential exposures before symptoms start.

Which animals can carry rabies?  

All mammals can get rabies, but only a few species are important as reservoirs for the disease. In the United States, distinct strains of rabies virus have been identified in bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and mongooses. In many other parts of the world, rabies in dogs is still common.

How is rabies transmitted?

Rabies virus is transmitted through direct contact (such as through broken skin or mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, or mouth) with saliva or brain/nervous system tissue from an infected animal. 

When should I seek medical attention? 

If you’ve been in contact with any wildlife or unfamiliar animals, particularly if you’ve been bitten or scratched, you should talk with a healthcare or public health professional to determine your risk for rabies or other illnesses. Wash any wounds immediately with soap and water and then plan to see a healthcare provider. (It’s important to know that, unlike most other animals that carry rabies, many types of bats have very small teeth which may leave marks that disappear quickly. If you are unsure, seek medical advice to be safe.) 

Rabies Prevention

In Pets

In People

1. Keep rabies vaccinations up-to-date for all cats, ferrets, and dogs.

 2. Keeping cats and ferrets indoors and keeping dogs on leash.

3. Spay or neuter your pets 

4. Keep an eye out for stray and wild animals  your neighborhood. If your pet fights with a wild animal- report it. 

1. Leave all wildlife alone, including injured animals- Do Not Touch!
2. Know the risk: Contact with infected bats in the US is a leading cause of rabies death. Bat proof your home. Call if you wake up to a bat. 
3. Rabies is preventable with proper medical care which may include rabies postexposure shots. 
4. Wash animal bites or scratches with soap and water can call your healthcare provider. 

We are here!

Nurses are here to answer rabies questions. Monday thru Friday call 585-396-4343 on weekends and nights call the emergency line 585-394-4560. Our nurses work with local emergency rooms to ensure rabies post exposure shots are given when appropriate to the exposure scenario.  

CDC's Rabies Page

Rabies Prevention= Educate, VACCINATE, Eliminate


Rabies Prevention Clinic

February 24, 2024 9 am- 12pm

Ontario County Public Works

2962 County Road 48

Canandaigua, NY 14424

Registration Link February 24, 2024 Rabies Clinic

A few reminders:

  • Walk-ins are always welcome!
  • Rabies Clinic is for cats, dogs, and ferrets that are health and at least three months old.  
  • No cost but dogs must be on a leash, cats and ferrets must be in a carrier.
  • Be prepared to clean-up after your pet
  • Can't wait to see you and your best friend!
2.24.2024 Rabies Clinic Flier with QR Code
Rabies Clinic Schedule 2024-1
CDc Rabioes
Catch the bat

Stop 77!

Did you know that 77% of dog bites come from a family dog or a friends dog? 

Take a moment to watch the dog bite prevention video below.

(Updated 6/4/2018)

Is Your Pet Vaccinated?

The National Pet Health Survey states that 82% of pets have received routine vaccinations (within the last year). The survey is the latest effort to collect data  concerning the health of our pets. A U.S. pet health and disease databases is being created. If you would like to take part in the survey Click here.

(Updated 2/23/2018)

Bat box. png

Create a Bat Box Today!

Bats are important to the environment. Help save bats while keeping them out of your home. Watch the video and learn to build a bat box today!
Click Here

Prevent Dog Fights

Dogs fighting in the home is dangerous for pets and people. Here are a few tips from a veterinarian to prevent dogs from fighting. When asked how to prevent a dog fight, Christine New, DVM recommends the following:

  • Spay and neuter your dogs.
  • Feed multiple dogs in a home separately.
  • Keep dogs on a  leash when outside.
  • If your dog has a possessive demeanor, avoid the dog park.  Even a docile dog can become involved in a fight.
  • Fighting over dog toys is a common occurrence so keep desired toys out of reach.
  • Adding a new dog to the family? Choose a dog the opposite sex of the existing dog to join your family.
  • Allow dogs to have some alone time when visiting family with other dogs 

What can I do if my dog gets into a fight?

Keep people away from fighting dogs. We love our dogs and we want to protect them but getting between to fighting dogs is very dangerous. If your dog is in a fight do not yell. Yelling makes the situation more intense and escalates the fighting dogs. To stop a dog fight Christine New, DVM recommends:

  • Using  a broom or chair to separate the dogs.
  • Spraying water on the dogs with a water hose.
  • Making a loud noise such as slamming a door.

If fighting is a frequent behavior for your dog, speak with your veterinarian. Basic obedience training may be helpful. Dogs that have had obedience training listen to their owners better and increase the chance of preventing a dog fight.

Form more information visit: Click here
(updated 7/2/2020)

Pet Preparedness

Prior to a disaster create a family emergency plan that includes your pet(s). 
It is very important to:

  • Make sure each pet's tags are up-to-date and fastened to its collar.

  • Have a current photo of you and your pet(s) for identification purposes.

  • Make a pet emergency kit.

  • Identify shelters in advance that will allow your pets.

  • Have a secure pet carrier, leash, or harness for your pet.

  • Know hotels and motels that allow pets.

View this video today! Click here    

Updated 6/23/17


Do You Know Your Wild Neighbors?

Raccoon 101: Raccoons will appear whenever food is around. Although they’re normally nocturnal, it’s not uncommon to see raccoons during the day, especially in spring and summer when mom raccoons are expending a lot of energy nursing their young cubs. But if the raccoon is acting disoriented or sick— circling, staggering, or screeching—contact an animal control officer.

“Orphaned” fawns: Mother deer often "park" their babies in one place and only visit two to three times a day to avoid attracting predators. Until the fawn is four weeks old, you will rarely see the mother. Instead, the fawn relies on camouflage and lying still for protection during this vulnerable period.

Foxes out and about during the day: Foxes have a natural fear of people. If you see a fox outside during the day, it's no cause for alarm. They will usually run away from you as soon as they detect your presence. These foxes can easily be scared away by making loud noises such as yelling or blowing whistles.

Bottom line……Trapping and releasing is NOT kind!
: Relocating a wild animal is far from kind. In a strange place, the relocated animals will try to find their home, and may be killed by cars or have to fight resident animals along the way. In spring and summer, often it's a mother animal who is trapped and relocated, leaving her babies behind to starve. A far better solution is to solve the problem at its source by removing whatever is attracting the animal, such as food and denning sites.

Looking for more information?

Wildlife information: Click here
Rabies fact sheets in English: Click here
Rabies fact sheets in Spanish: Click here


Dog Bite Preventiondog on leash

The Yellow Dog Project
Does your dog need a little extra space when out and about in the neighborhood? Perhaps he's had surgery or is nursing an injury. Maybe he startles easily due to poor vision and hearing loss as he ages. The Yellow Dog Project is a global movement for owners of dogs that need space. By attaching a yellow ribbon to your best friend, you can let those around him know he needs some special consideration. Click here for additional information or here to visit the Yellow Dog Project Website.

Dog vs. Child...No one really wins

Being bitten by a dog is painful and traumatic and children are at particular risk due to their size and unpredictable behavior. Though bites are often provoked, in many instances families opt to remove the offending pet from the home. This, too, can be traumatic. Dog bites can be prevented. Visit

Doggone Safe

for more information on cultivating respectful relationships between children and canines.

Do You Speak Dog?

A dog's body language tells a lot about its mood. Being fluent in "dog" can help you and your loved ones stay safe around dogs in your home and neighborhood.

Click here

to view a video about the language of dogs.

Rabies; How Big a Problem Is It?World

A Global Concern

Rabies is still a problem across the globe, occurring in over 150 countries and territories. More than 55,000 people die of rabies every year; mostly in Asia and Africa. Bites from infected dogs are the most common source of human infections, worldwide. Every year more than 15 million people get vaccinated against rabies, preventing hundreds of thousands of deaths.

In the United States, including here in New York, rabies disease in humans has nearly become a thing of the past. Did you ever stop to consider why? A strong public health infrastructure and effective rabies prevention programming have made a disease common at the start of the twentieth century, almost unheard of today. Rabies prevention programming in New York includes laws requiring pet vaccination; investigation of possible exposures; and provision of vaccine to exposed humans.

For more information about rabies, check out the following sites:
Click here to learn more about rabies in the United States
Click here to learn more about rabies in New York
Click here to learn more about rabies in Ontario County

Good News about a Very Bad Virus

Rabies infection is terrible and people diagnosed with rabies almost always die. For an illness that is so good at killing its host, however, the virus itself gets off to a very slow start. This is great news for people who are unlucky enough to get exposed. Rabies moves very slowly in the body leaving enough time to begin vaccination. When given correctly vaccine is 100% effective at preventing infection.

Updated 2/1/2022