Rabies is a viral disease that infects the central nervous system and causes disease in the brain. The virus is passed on from infected mammals to humans, usually through the bite of a rabid animal. It is most always fatal once symptoms appear. Human rabies is rare in the United States.
All mammals, including humans can get rabies. In Wisconsin, skunks and bats are by far the most likely to carry the rabies virus, but it sometimes occurs in dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons and livestock.
Signs and Symptoms of Rabies, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
If a vaccination is recommended, three more vaccines are needed after the first visit. Finish the vaccine series to be fully protected from rabies.
If you have insurance, call your clinic for a care plan.
If you do not have insurance:
People do not need to be vaccinated for rabies unless they are exposed to the virus. The best protection for people against rabies is to get their pets vaccinated.
Getting your dogs and cats vaccinated is their best protection against the rabies virus. Dogs and cats should be vaccinated when they are five months old and revaccinated a year later. Vaccination shots do not last the lifetime of your pet. Revaccination is required every 1 to 3 years. In Wisconsin, all dogs are required to be vaccinated and in Madison, cats must also be vaccinated.
Keep wild and unfamiliar animals away from your pets.