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Rabies Vaccination

Schenectady County investigates hundreds of rabies exposures annually, both from domestic and wild animals, to protect County residents from rabies.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the brain and spinal cord.  Rabies is primarily found in mammals and is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, only a few human cases are reported each year in the United States.

What are the most common mammals to carry the virus? 

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Bats

Bat Rabies

Bat rabies accounts for almost all cases of human rabies in this country. Although only 1% of the bats submitted for rabies testing are positive, any exposure to bats should be reported to the Environmental Health Division for investigation. The bat should be saved for testing.

If you’ve touched a bat or woken up to one in your bedroom, don’t let it go! Capture the bat and call our office. 


Report Possible Exposure

Call 518-386-2818

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Rabies is Preventable and Treatable if Caught Early

The Environmental Health Division thoroughly investigates all potential rabies exposures and may be able to prevent the need for post-exposure vaccines. However, at times, vaccines may be recommended.

Treating rabies requires immediate medical attention and is primarily focused on preventing the virus from reaching the central nervous system. The standard treatment for individuals who have been exposed to rabies involves a series of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) injections.  Learn more about Rabies treatment from the Center for Disease Control.

Vaccinate your Pets!

The rabies vaccine can prevent one of the most deadly viral diseases. When you vaccinate your dog, cat, or ferret, you help protect your pet, family, and community. If you work with potentially infected animals, you are at a higher risk of possible exposure.  Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about the rabies vaccine. 

Don't wait! Vaccinate your pet today!


Your pet should receive rabies vaccinations from a veterinarian to prevent contracting the rabies virus.  Schenectady County offers FREE rabies clinics to County residents 4 times a year. To learn when upcoming clinics will be held visit our events page.

Upcoming Rabies Vaccination Clinics

Rabies Vaccine: What you need to know