Raccoons Can Transmit a Variety of Different Diseases; Knowing How & Symptoms of Each Can Help With Identification
Raccoons can cause major problems inside your home, not by just the damage they cause, but also the diseases they can transmit.
These medium-sized mammals may carry several diseases, which makes them quite dangerous to humans and pets. It is important to keep you and your family safe from these diseases, so being able to identify the symptoms of each and knowing how each is spread can make a world of difference.
One of the many diseases that can be transmitted through raccoon droppings is roundworm.
Roundworm typically affects most raccoons at some point in their lifetime. Roundworm eggs live inside a raccoon’s droppings, making safe removal of droppings essential because particles from the eggs can become airborne and inhaled by humans or pets.
If swallowed, the eggs will hatch inside the body, causing the larvae to attach itself to different parts of your body. This can become very dangerous and, in some cases, even fatal. Symptoms of roundworm include tiredness, loss of muscle control and vision, and coma.
Leptospirosis can be transmitted not only through raccoon droppings but also urine.
Like roundworm, leptospirosis can infect both humans and animals. This disease is commonly contracted if an open wound or cut comes into contact with raccoon droppings.
Symptoms of leptospirosis include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, severe muscle and body aches, anemia, meningitis, and failure of the liver and kidneys.
Giardiasis is transmitted through raccoon droppings when humans or animals ingest contaminated food or water. Symptoms of giardiasis are nausea, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.
Raccoon droppings can also contain salmonella.
The salmonella bacteria can be transmitted when humans and animals ingest infected food. The bacteria can live in dry environments for long periods of time, becoming active again if conditions are favorable.
Symptoms of salmonella include fever, abdominal pain, and severe diarrhea.
One of the most common diseases associated with raccoons is rabies.
Since the introduction of rabies in the early 1990s, the disease has become more widespread, especially in New York.
Rabies is passed from a raccoon to humans or other animals through bite and scratch marks. Symptoms of rabies are nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, anxiety, confusion, difficulty swallowing, which can cause a fear of water, hyperactivity, excessive salivation, hallucinations, insomnia, and partial paralysis. The symptoms can be similar to the flu and last for several days.
Rabies can be deadly so it's best to seek medical attention immediately if you think you or your pet has contracted the disease.
Signs an animal is infected with rabies are stumbling as if the animal is drunk, foaming of the mouth, aggressive behavior, or hind legs that have become paralyzed. Having your pets immunized can prevent the transmission of the rabies disease.
Raccoons can carry the disease canine distemper, too.
Humans are safe from canine distemper, but it can be very deadly if a dog contracts the disease. The disease is transmitted through airborne droplets, direct contact with bodily fluids, or raccoon droppings. Other common pets that can contract canine distemper are cats and ferrets.
Symptoms of canine distemper include; sneezing, coughing, a mucus like discharge from the eyes or nose, loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea, and the hardening of nose and footpads. Raccoons emitting the signs of confusion and acting tame might be showing signs that they have the disease. They will typically become unconscious and die due to its high mortality rate among raccoons. Just like rabies, you can immunize your pets from contracting the disease.
Treatment & Removal of Raccoons & Their Diseases
If you start to show signs of any one of these diseases listed above, it is advised that you consult with your doctor or health care provider immediately.
Diseases transmitted by raccoons can become severe, so it’s best not to wait before seeking treatment.
If you need help getting rid of raccoons, seek the help of a trained pest management professional to build a plan to rid your property and its surroundings of any raccoon problems.