Dear Animal General Clients,
I am writing to share a veterinary alert that Animal General received today from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regarding positive rabies tests in Manhattan.
“December 7, 2009 – Three raccoons collected from the northern end of Central Park have tested positive for rabies in 2009, two during the past week. A fourth raccoon from Manhattan test positive in July 2009 but was collected near Inwood Park. To date in 2009, 20 animals have tested positive for rabies in NYC.”
The raccoons were found at West 110th and Lenox Avenue, West 93rd and Central Park West, and East 106th and Fifth Avenue.
Animal General is advising clients to avoid approaching or feeding wild mammals (birds are not a rabies vector species) and to ensure that your pets are are vaccinated against rabies and to keep pets leashed while outdoors unless at a enclosed specified off-leash area or park. Report animal bites to both your veterinarian and to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Animal Bite Unit.
It is important to note that bats are also known vectors of rabies, and that rabid bats have been found in all five boroughs of NYC. Rabies is most commonly spread to domestic animals by attacks from wild animals (raccoons, bats, skunks, coyote, and fox in our area).
Animal General encourages your to ensure that your pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations. Maintaining vaccination against rabies is required for all dogs and cats, 4 months of age or older in NYC. Any unvaccinated dog or cat that many have been exposed to a rabid animal is required to enter into six-month quarantine in an approved facility or be euthanized. If a pet is up-to-date with its rabies vaccination but potentially exposed to a rabid animal, a booster vaccine should be given immediately, and the owner will be advised to confine and observe the pet at home for the next 45 days.
Any pet dog or cat that has bitten or scratched a person is required to be confine and observed by the owner for 10 days. If the dog or cat is not currently vaccinated against rabies, vaccination should not occur until after the completion of the 10-day observation period. Animal bites are reportable to the DOHMH Veterinary Public Health Services Animal Bite Unit.
Additional information about rabies is available on the DOHMH website, including summary data for New York City.
Animal General wishes you a very happy holiday season and best wishes for a healthy new year. If you have any questions about your pet’s rabies vaccination status, please contact Karen Markham or call our receptionists at 212-501-9600 to schedule an appointment if your pet is overdue.
Best wishes, Karen Markham