Rabid Bat Contacts Cats in Springwater

SPRINGWATER – The Health Department confirms that a big brown bat tested positive for rabies after crossing paths with two cats.

According to a press release from the Livingston County Department of Health, their Public Health Director Jennifer Rodriguez announces that the New York State Health Department laboratory has confirmed that a big brown bat, captured after ‘coming into contact’ with two domestic cats on a property in the Town of Springwater on Sept. 24, tested positive for rabies.

“It is important to note that there is no way to tell if an animal is rabid just by looking at it,” said the release. “Wild and feral animals should always be avoided. Signs of rabies in wildlife include:  inability to walk, appearance of ‘drunkenness,’ unwillingness to drink water or eat, drooling, aggressive behavior, and/or a massive swing in temperament. says the release.”

Rabies is a deadly virus that attacks the central nervous system in mammals. It is most frequently found in raccoons, skunks, and bats in Livingston County. All mammals, including unvaccinated dogs and cats, are at risk for getting rabies.

The best form of defense is avoiding contact with wildlife and keeping domestic animals vaccinated on schedule. The Department of Health asks that any potential rabies exposures should be reported to them. They are reachable by phone at (585) 243-7270.

The Health Department recommends taking the following four steps to prevent rabies in pets and family members:

  • Teach children to stay away from unfamiliar animals, either wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly.
  • Thoroughly wash any wound from an animal with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention.
  • Avoid wild animals, especially if the animal is showing any sign of rabies.
  • Be a responsible pet owner by keeping your pet’s vaccinations current.  Getting your pets vaccinated can help stop the spread of rabies from wild animals to humans.

New York State Law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets have current rabies vaccinations, beginning at four months of age. An unvaccinated pet that comes into contact with a rabid animal must be kept in strict confinement for six months or euthanized.

Free rabies clinics are offered for dogs, cats, and ferrets every year in Livingston County. The next clinic is scheduled for Tuesday Oct. 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Livingston County Highway Department, Gypsy Lane, in Groveland.

If you have any question or would like further information on rabies, please contact the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7280 or 335-1717.