Rabies is a devastating disease. Once clinical signs have appeared, it is always fatal. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system of an animal, leading to an agonizing death. The virus is usually transmitted via the saliva of a rabid animal through a bite wound, but it is possible for transmission to occur through contamination of scratch wounds or through mucosal membranes. Because rabies can be transmitted from infected animals to humans, it can pose a serious public health concern if an outbreak is suspected or reported. Many states have laws requiring rabies vaccination for dogs and cats.