Health Department to Host Free Vaccinations

GOSHEN – When it comes to fighting rabies, prevention is essential. This starts with the animal owner.

“Ensuring your family’s pet is properly vaccinated prior to possible exposure is critical to protecting yourself, your pet, and your community from rabies,” said Dr. Irina Gelman, Orange County’s Commissioner of Health. “When the family dog or cat is unvaccinated and exposed to rabies it can threaten the lives of all family members.”

To safeguard the health of Orange County residents and their pets, the Department of Health in cooperation with the Town of Deerpark will be holding a free animal rabies vaccination clinic from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 22nd at the Huguenot Firehouse, located at 431 Route 209 in Huguenot.

The clinic is open to cats, dogs and ferrets of Orange County residents only. All pets must be restrained by leash or carrier and proof of prior vaccination should be brought to the clinic for the three-year shot. Please be aware that ferret shots are only good for one year regardless of prior proof of vaccinations.

In addition to keeping vaccinations current, Dr. Gelman offers some easy-to-follow tips to protect against rabies.
* NEVER touch unfamiliar or wild animals.
* AVOID direct contact with stray animals. Stray cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies may not have been vaccinated against rabies.
* If you are bitten, wash bite wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention immediately.
* If your pet is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately.
* NEVER adopt wild animals including cats, kittens, dogs, and puppies or bring them into your home.
* DO NOT attempt to nurse sick or injured wild animals back to health. Call an animal control person or an animal rescue group so they can take care of everything safely.
* Make sure your trash cans are secure and do not leave pet food out. You do not want to attract wild animals near your home.

Prompt and appropriate treatment after being bitten and before the disease develops can stop rabies infection and/or prevent the disease in humans and animals.

“Getting your pets vaccinated is the best way to protect your family against rabies,” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said. “These clinics are very popular and I’m looking forward to pet owners taking advantage of this free service.”

For more information regarding rabies, please call the Orange County Department of Health Environmental Division at (845) 291-2331.

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