Rabies Diagnostic Testing at the Wisconsin State
Laboratory of Hygiene
The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene (WSLH) is the
only facility in the state that performs rabies diagnostic testing on
animal specimens. Because of their frequent contact with humans,
domestic pets constitute the majority of animals submitted for testing.
However, the two primary wildlife reservoirs, bats and skunks, have a
much greater chance of being positive for rabies.
More details on specimen submissions can be found on the WSLH website
Submitters of rabies specimens should note the following:
The entire brain, including brainstem, must be submitted. Typically
the entire head is submitted. For animals that are squirrel-sized or
smaller, the entire animal may be submitted, but larger animals must be
The specimen must be shipped on cold packs for next day (i.e.,
overnight) delivery. Do not freeze. The WSLH has special mailing
containers available for rabies specimens.
Specimens that arrive on Saturdays prior to 3:00 PM will be accepted
and stored for testing the following Monday unless prior arrangement for
weekend testing have been made through the Division of Public Health,
Communicable Disease Epidemiology Section (see "Resources";
The fee for the rabies test is currently $194.90, but the fee can be
waived by the local health department if there is a human or domestic
animal exposure from a species that is considered a possible rabies
reservoir. For owned animals, the owner is responsible for the cost of
euthanasia, specimen preparation, and overnight submission.
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Diagnostic testing | Rabies in Wisconsin