Common Wildlife Diseases
Is a virus that can affect any mammal, including humans. the virus is spread through saliva directly by being bit or indirectly by having saliva enter open cuts, your mouth, nose or eyes. Infected animals will usually behave strangely depending on how they react to the virus. The animal will either have “dumb rabies” in which it suffers tremors and convulsions and acts disoriented, or “aggressive rabies” were the animal is unusually aggressive and loses all sense of fear.
Other signs are frothing at the mouth, activity during the day for nocturnal animals, and aimless wandering. Rabies is most often transmitted by bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. Once the signs of rabies appear, it is virtually always fatal.
Is often confused with rabies as the symptoms are similar to one another. An animal infected with the virus will have a sickly appearance, with a mucus/crusty discharge around its eyes and nose and often acting disoriented and confused. It is commonly seen in raccoons and skunks, is highly contagious and often fatal. Humans are not susceptible to this virus, but dogs are.
Is a respiratory disease that is spread by breathing in spores of a fungus that is found in bat and bird droppings. This fungus is commonly found around flocks of roosting bird and bat colonies where there is a substantial accumulation of droppings. Mild symptoms of the disease are headaches, joint pain and flu like symptoms. More severe effects can include impaired vision, weakening of the immune system and acute respiratory illness.
Is a parasite that lives in the intestines of almost all raccoons. The adult roundworm sheds millions of eggs in the raccoons droppings. The infection is spread by the accidental ingestion of these eggs, which are very small and sticky, by people and pets. Symptoms depend on how many eggs were ingested and can include the loss of muscle control, nausea, blindness, and brain damage just to name a few. Although incidence of this infection is thought to be rare, there is no known effective treatment.
Avoid contact with raccoon feces and never clean up their droppings without the use of a face mask, gloves and disposable tools. Washing the area with soap will help to remove the sticky coating from the eggs and helps to prevent the transfer onto other surfaces.