Standards for Quarantine Facilities
The Wisconsin Administrative Code chapter ATCP 13 defines the requirements for local rabies control programs. Waukesha County operates its state-approved program under this code. Isolation facilities (shelters) used by the Waukesha County Rabies Control Program have to meet several requirements.
All bites by a dog, cat or ferrets that break the skin of a human need to be reported immediately to the Environmental Health Division, preferably by fax. The Environmental Health Division can advise you about bites involving other species, as well as animals bitten by other animals.
As a standard policy, a copy of the bite report, along with basic shelter intake information, should be retained by the shelter. Bite case files must be kept where all shelter staff having contact with the animal can easily access the paperwork.
Before animals are released from the shelter, usually 10 twenty-four hour periods after the bite, their owner needs to show proof of rabies vaccination and have a current dog license. (prepaid, if not already obtained). The owner should be instructed to take the dog directly to their veterinarian for a quarantine release. The dog is considered under quarantine until the veterinarian signs the quarantine release papers. The veterinarian can give a rabies vaccination at this visit, if the dog is not current with the vaccination. The vet will then fax the completed quarantine paperwork to the county.
It should be noted that the length of quarantine can be extended beyond 10 days. Situations such as the animal showing any unusual medical signs, the animal receiving rabies vaccination during the quarantine period, a bite by the same animal during the quarantine, or ordered extensions by the overseeing veterinarian or rabies program staff can prolong the quarantine period.
If an animal is euthanized in the shelter at the end of quarantine, the shelter staff needs to have the overseeing veterinarian for the rabies control program sign off on the quarantine order paperwork. This needs to be done after the ten 24-hour quarantine period and then faxed to the Environmental Health Division by the shelter staff. The veterinarian must sign before euthanasia is performed.
The Isolation Facility
Any facility designated by the Environmental Health Division, which is equipped with a pen or cage that isolates the animal from contact with other animals or the public can serve as a shelter. Visitors are not allowed, except in a medical emergency.
Upon arrival, the quarantined animal needs to be immediately placed in an isolation kennel. The kennel shall have a cage marker identifying the animal and a sign noting it as a quarantined animal. The quarantined animal must be kept away from other animals and the public for the entire quarantine period.
The Division advises shelters to limit the number of staff who will handle quarantined animals and provide current rabies pre-exposure prophylaxis for these staff. Standard shelter sanitation practices are to be used.
Any unusual behavior or other concerns regarding the animal should be immediately brought to the attention of the Environmental Health Division staff and overseeing veterinarian. The Division will submit rabies suspect samples to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene as needed.