At the end of December, the dog, which was not vaccinated against rabies, began displaying signs including choking, drooling, and an inability to swallow. The dog tested positive for Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis and passed away a few days after it's initial veterinary visit.
Samples were sent to the University of Minnesota Diagnostic Laboratory which confirmed a rabies diagnosis, the first in a domestic dog since 2018. Five other dogs also on the property were put into rabies quarantine and the owner and their household received post-exposure prophylaxis.
In Wisconsin, primary vectors of rabies are bats and skunks, and bats have accounted for nearly 98% of all diagnosed rabies cases in recent history. Wisconsin has not had a diagnosed human case of rabies since 2010. Clearwater County is located approximately 150 miles from the Wisconsin border.
While these cases are isolated, they are great reminders of the need for continued rabies vaccinations and the importance of the role that shelters and animal control workers play in preventing this deadly disease.