PetMeds® Protecting Pets from Raccoons (Rabies)

protecting-pets-backyard With the ever-growing expansion of human populations into more rural areas we are seeing increased exposure of our pets to wildlife in increasing numbers. One of the most common critters seen in our backyard is the raccoon. While in most cases raccoons will mind their own business and not bother with people or your pets, many times they will ingest left out dog food or cat food, as well as other garbage in the yard. In these cases a dog or cat may feel threatened or attempt to chase the raccoon, which may lead to fights and injuries.

One of the biggest concerns with raccoons is that they are one of the species of wild life that potentially carry rabies, which can be very harmful and deadly to both people and pets. Rabies is most commonly transmitted by direct bite and/or contact with infected saliva. While most raccoons do not carry rabies, if your pet does have an encounter with a raccoon it is important to make sure that your pet is current on its rabies vaccination and/or take your animal to the nearest veterinary facility for assessment and/or booster vaccination. If a pet is not current on rabies vaccination, some states will require quarantine, and/or slaughter of a pet not current on rabies vaccination who has an altercation with a raccoon. Especially if one sees a raccoon out during the day time, it might be a good idea to call your local animal control officer, as such behavior would be not typical for raccoons that are mostly active at night.

The other big concern with raccoons is that they can be carriers of an intestinal parasite called baylisascaris, which is a roundworm that can not only affect dogs but humans as well. One should not handle any excrement left in the yard by a raccoon without appropriate gloves. While we must live in harmony with our wild life neighbors, it is important to be vigilant in monitoring exposure of our dogs and cats to raccoons by supervising night time activities of dogs and cats that go outside, particularly in those areas where raccoons are common.

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