Rabies & Animal Bites

The goal of this program is to reduce the risk of exposure to the rabies virus and to prevent the occurrence of rabies.

The program provides the following services:

  • Responds to reported animal bites and potential exposures, including consultation with medical personnel for follow up on post-exposure medical treatment when necessary.
  • Submits suspected animal specimens to the New York State Laboratory in Albany for rabies analysis.
  • Monitors 10-day confinement and 6-month quarantine of domestic animals involved in human contact or contact with potentially rabid animals.
  • Conducts free rabies immunizations clinics, three times a year, for dogs and cats owned by Cayuga County residents. For upcoming dates, follow us on Facebook                                                      .

Rabies Risks

Rabies is a fatal disease that cannot be cured once a person begins to have symptoms. Rabies has been present in Cayuga County since 1992 in terrestrial animals such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other mammals. In addition to terrestrial rabies, bat rabies has also been shown to be present in Cayuga County. Birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects cannot transmit the disease.

Contracting Rabies

Rabies can only be acquired through contact with an infected animal. Contact is defined as a bite, scratch, saliva contact to your eyes, nose, mouth, or open wound; or any physical contact with a bat.

Possible Exposure

Possible exposure of people, pets or domestic livestock must be reported to the Cayuga County Health Department at 315-253-1405 or, after hours, to the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department at 315-253-1222.  Possible exposure includes awakening to a bat in your room.  If a bat is found in a house and there is any chance that contact between the bat and a person or a pet occurred, the bat needs to be captured and submitted for rabies testing.  Further information can be found on the bats & rabies sub-page.