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Animal Bites

If an animal bite occurs, please contact the Clark County Sheriff's Office at 715-743-3221 to ensure that the biting animal is appropriately and legally observed or tested for rabies. It is also vital not to release or destroy a biting animal until a public health official or an animal control officer is consulted. The victim's physician should also be notified promptly.

One of the most effective ways to prevent rabies infection is immediate, thorough cleansing of the animal bite or scratch wounds with liberal amounts of soap and water for 10-15 minutes.

Rabies is a viral infection of the central nervous system that affects all warm-blooded mammals and causes fatal swelling of the brain and spinal cord.

Vaccinated Animals

  • Vaccinated animals must quarantine in their home for 10 days under the supervision of the animal owner. The animal cannot run loose outside of the home or travel anywhere other than the vet’s office.

  • Three vet checks are required within 10 days from the time of the bite.

Unvaccinated Animals

  • Unvaccinated animals must quarantine in a facility (vet office, local humane society, etc.).

  • The animal owner is responsible for the cost of quarantine and transporting the animal to the vet for the three vet checks.  

  • Three vet checks are required within 10 days from the time of the bite.

 until consulting with a public health official. In nearly all cases, observation or testing of the animal can eliminate the need to administer the series of injections to prevent rabies.

In the state of Wisconsin, you are REQUIRED to vaccinate your animals. For more information, click here (see highlighted on pages 3-5).

For more information on animal bites visit: DHS Rabies

Prevention Measures

Exposure to rabies may be minimized by the following measures:

  • Eliminate stray dogs and cats and enforce leash laws.

  • Vaccinate pet dogs, cats, ferrets, and livestock against rabies.

  • Stay away from all wild animals, especially those acting abnormally.

  • Teach your children not to approach any unfamiliar animals.

  • Do not keep exotic or wild animals as pets, regardless of how young or cute they are.

  • Exclude bats from living quarters by keeping screens in good repair and by closing any small openings that could allow them to enter.

  • Persons traveling to developing countries in which rabies is highly prevalent, or persons who are at ongoing risk of possible rabies exposure (e.g., veterinarians, animal control officers), should ask their doctor about receiving the PRE-exposure rabies vaccinations.

How Can You Prevent Rabies in Animals?

There are several things you can do to protect your pet from rabies. These include making sure your pets get regular rabies vaccines, keeping pets away from wild animals, spaying or neutering pets, and calling animal control to remove stray animals from your neighborhood.

What Animals get Rabies?

Rabies affects only mammals. Mammals are warm-blooded animals with fur. People are also mammals. Birds, snakes, and fish are not mammals, so they can’t get rabies and they can’t give it to you. But any mammal can get rabies, including people. While rabies is rare in people in the United States, with only 1 to 3 cases reported annually, about 60,000 Americans get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) each year to prevent rabies infection after being bitten or scratched by an infected or suspected infected animal.

How Can I Tell If An Animal Has Rabies?

You can’t tell if an animal has rabies by just looking at it—the only way to know for sure if an animal (or a person) has rabies is to perform laboratory testing. Some things to look for are:

  • general sickness

  • problems swallowing

  • excessive drool or saliva

  • an animal that is overly aggressive

  • an animal that bites at imaginary objects (sometimes called “fly biting”)

  • an animal that appears tamer than you would expect

  • an animal that’s having trouble moving or may even be paralyzed

  • a bat that is on the ground

To report a public health emergency or communicable disease after hours, please contact Clark County Dispatch at (715) 743-3157.

Our office is closed on significant holidays & days of recognition. Please click here for more information.  

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