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Positive Rabies Test Provides Reminder To Get Pets Vaccinated

WAOW Television

Rabies is a potentially fatal disease, but a preventable one.

"Cats and dogs need to be vaccinated. A lot of people argue that cats always stay inside," said Wausau Humane Officer Ashlee Bishop. "The bat came inside from the house and it could have been possible for exposure."

Last Friday, a wild bat was found in a home in Wausau.

After it was put down, it tested positive for rabies.

"Bat bites are so tiny you can't really see them to know if you have been bit, but it was in the person's best interest to test," said Bishop.

According to Officer Bishop, a post exposure vaccine can cost up to $10,000.

Officer Bishop also said they have had numerous complaints of dogs off leashes, adding that having your dog on a leash and vaccinated is key to help stop spreading the disease.

"We have rabies in our community. It is in our wildlife and it doesn't take much to get in our domestic pets that we are bringing home," said Bishop.

The Marathon County Health Department said in the past four years, more than 130 animals have tested positive for rabies in Wisconsin.

"Rabies is quite dangerous; in almost all cases they died," said Dale Grosskurth, the environmental health and safety director for Marathon County. "Once we learned the bat tested positive, we quickly reached out to other individuals in the apartment to see if anyone else handled the bat."

If you believe your pet was exposed to rabies, they may need to be quarantined for 180 days.

There is a free rabies vaccine clinic happening this Saturday.

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