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What should Wisconsin residents know about rabies?

Last week, we discussed how important it is for people to be careful around dogs when visiting family members and friends over the holiday season. Even when there isn't a holiday, it is still vital for everyone to exercise safety around pets. It is also vital that pet owners socialize and train their pets. The sad fact of the matter is that there is always a chance that a dog will bite someone. If you are bitten by a dog while you are on someone else's property, you should immediately find out if the dog is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination. Dogs who aren't properly vaccinated might put you at risk of rabies. Our readers in Wisconsin might like to know some basic information about rabies.

Is rabies only carried by dogs?

The rabies virus is carried by various animals. This virus can be transmitted by dogs, cats, ferrets, cows, goats, horses, monkeys, skunks, raccoons and foxes. It can also be transmitted by various other wild animals, such as bats.

What are some signs of rabies?

Rabies might initially seem like the flu. Fever, nausea, headache, confusion, hallucinations, insomnia, fear of water, excessive salivation, hyperactivity and difficulty swallowing are some of the symptoms associated with rabies.

How is rabies treated?

Rabies is treated with a series of shots. One shot is a fast acting shot that helps to prevent the virus from infecting your body. Other vaccinations help your body fight the rabies virus. Getting these shots as soon as possible can increase the chance of successful treatment.

The cost of treating rabies is considerable. Anyone who has been bitten by an animal that might have rabies has the right to seek compensation from the animal's owner. Knowing how to exercise that right might help you to decide how to move forward.

Source: MayoClinic, "Rabies" Dec. 29, 2014

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Mudge Porter Lundeen & Seguin, S.C.
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