Rabies is not a thing of the past. Every day someone in the world dies from this fatal viral disease. Feeding or petting infected raccoons may put your family at high risk for exposure to this viral disease.
Raccoon rabies can be passed to people. The deadly nature of the disease is one of the main reasons that it is considered such a serious disease. What’s more rabies can’t be diagnosed in a raccoon accurately. To get an accurate diagnosis, the raccoon’s brain must be examined.
How to protect your family and pets and how to avoid exposure from this deadly viral disease? Learn about rabid raccoons, the symptoms of disease in raccoons and methods of prevention.
Are they dangerous to humans?
Have a strong temptation to pet a cute raccoon? No matter how cute the raccoon is, it’s a bad idea. Raccoons can be infected with rabies and can turn aggressive toward people or animals.
So what is rabies? This is a viral disease that affects mammals. The virus affects the central nervous system travelling from the site of the bite to the brain – through the nerves over a period of three to eight weeks. The patient doesn’t show signs of disease over this period. However, once the virus reaches the brain it produces inflammation.
At this time the patient starts to show signs of rabies such as:
- Abnormal behavior
Once these symptoms appear, the disease is nearly always fatal.
Do raccoons carry rabies?
Yes, they do. These destructive animals are known as one of the most common carriers of rabies – zoonotic disease – in the U.S. Most rabid raccoons start acting extremely aggressive and become dangerous to humans and pets. In some states, this pesky animal is classified as a rabies vector species. It means raccoon can not only carry but also transmit rabies. The most effective way to stop raccoon rabies is vaccinating wild raccoons, instead of killing them.
People may be exposed through contact with infected raccoons or infected pets. That is why, most communities have laws that require the vaccination of pets against rabies.
Do all raccoons have rabies? All raccoons don’t have rabies. To contract rabies, raccoons must be exposed to the saliva of some infected animal.
How do raccoons get rabies?
According to the Human Society, animals that have rabies can spread the virus only by biting another creature – like raccoon or squirrel – during the final stage of the disease. Raccoons are most likely to be infected with rabies. Once exposed to the virus this pesky animal may show no signs of having rabies for 2 months or longer. After this period, about 90% of raccoons with rabies exhibit unusual, identified-with-the-disease behaviors.
When the lethal virus enters the raccoon’s body through exposure to the saliva of a sick/infected raccoon, the disease attacks the animal’s nervous system, moving to the salivary gland, brain and other areas and affecting cognitive, motor, and other functions.
Rabid raccoons are dangerous to humans and other animals. What to do in case you have to deal with a possibly rabid animal? The safest way is to telephone the police or animal control authorities. Experts have the knowledge and equipment necessary to euthanize the dangerous animal.
Rabies cannot go through unbroken skin.
You or your pet can be exposed to rabies only via a bite from a rabid raccoon/animal or possibly through abrasions, open wounds, scratches or mucous membranes in contact with brain tissue or saliva from a rabid raccoon/animal.
To help keep your family safe from the threat of raccoon rabies, take the following measures:
- Keep your pets up to date on their rabies vaccines;
- Cover all garbage cans securely to avoid attracting raccoons to your property;
- Don’t feed raccoon in your yard. Doing so will encourage the animal to return to your yard.
- Don’t allow your pet – dog or cat – to run at large;
- Once your pet has finished eating outside, remove the feeding dish.
Tired of raccoons tormenting your pets and uprooting your yard? Read here working info on raccoon trapping. Use our smart trapping tips and don’t let destructive animals turn your property into their dining-room.
Here’s how natural repellent can help you to repel raccoons effectively. Learn how to make the process of raccoon removal much easier.
Let’s face it: Raccoon removal is not an easy task. However you can consult with raccoon extermination services – here is how to do it.
Signs of rabies in raccoons
As far as rabies can be passed to people from raccoons you are to know and recognize the signs and symptoms of a rabid/sick raccoon.
- Early signs of rabies in raccoons are acting disoriented, seeming partially paralyzed or sick, walking unsteadily or moving without apparent purpose.
- As the infection progresses raccoons can make unusual voices which can include chattering, screeching and other unusual sounds they don’t normally make.
- Final stages – when rabid raccoons are close to death. At this period of disease raccoons may have problems with moving. Raccoon’s hind legs may become paralyzed. The animals may drool and froth at the mouth. It is essential to avoid animals in this condition and to prevent your dog or cat from coming into contact with sick raccoons.
If you’ve come in contact with a strangely behaving raccoon, call the doctor as quickly as possible.
Top Five Signs of a Rabid Raccoon
- Unexplained aggression or lethargy;
- Raccoon looks slow, disoriented or confused;
- The animal seems to be unaware of noises that would normally send it scurrying to another location;
- Loss of raccoon’s leg function due to paralysis;
- Throat muscle constriction that causes drooling, choking and frothing of the mouth.
If a typically nocturnal animal – like a raccoon – is exhibiting abnormal behavior during the day, you are to seek advice from wildlife rehabilitator or your local animal control.
Following our simple recommendations will help prevent both your pet and your family from being exposed to raccoon rabies.