While rabies is not a common disease in domestic animal species of the United States, potential exposures to rabies in the form of bites are very common and increasing. A nationwide study conducted among general hospitals shows that 1 percent of emergency room visits are for animal bites, of which 80-90 percent are inflicted by the dog (Callaham 1980). This figure is conservative, as the study did not include pediatric hospitals, the bite of victims that progress only to a physician's office, or those that receive no medical care at all. In Missouri alone, this study would infer about 1500 dog bites per year reaching only the general hospital. The number of dog and other animal bites across the country is unknown but may safely be assumed to be staggering in magnitude.
Blenden, D.C., Torres-Anjel, M.J., & Satalowich, F.T. (1985). Applications of laboratory technology in the evaluation of the risk of rabies transmissions by biting dogs and cats. In M.W. Fox & L.D. Mickley (Eds.), Advances in animal welfare science 1985/86 (pp. 221-246). Washington, DC: The Humane Society of the United States.