Rabies threatens all family members, including pets. The Rock County Health Department estimates as many as 60,000 dogs and cats in Rock County, Wisconsin (human population of 160,000) are not vaccinated for rabies. What!? 60,000 animals!?
Why is this alarming?
Rabies is a nearly always fatal, viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of another rabid animal. The devastating disease can be prevented almost 100% of the time with appropriate vaccination. This underscores the critical need for community members to take appropriate steps to prevent and control rabies.
It’s estimated that every year in Rock County, approximately 400 people are bitten by animals and require attention from health care providers and follow-up from the health department to verify the risk of rabies exposure. In 2012, at least four people in Rock County were referred to health care providers for rabies vaccination resulting from animal bites. Since 2000, three people have died of rabies in Wisconsin.
Although the majority of rabies cases occur in wildlife, most humans are exposed to the virus as a result of an encounter with an infected domestic animal. Keeping pets, including cats and dogs, up-to-date on vaccinations is a primary means of helping to prevent rabies in humans and domestic animals.
In association with Rabies Awareness Week, the Rock County Board of Health, Friends of Noah, and Badger Veterinarian Hospital are sponsoring a low-fee rabies vaccination clinic for cats and dogs at the Rock County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 27 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. People with unvaccinated cats and dogs are invited to attend. The fee is $10, cash only.
Dogs must be on leashes and cats confined to carriers. A limited number of leashes and carriers will be available. Animal owners are responsible for keeping their pets under control. Vaccinations are good for one year. If an owner can provide proper documentation of a prior rabies vaccination, their dog or cat can receive a three year vaccination. Animal health care will be limited to the rabies vaccination.