Spring is a time when many animals, including skunks, are emerging from a winter-long period of inactivity, findings mates, and looking for places to build dens and raise their young. If a skunk takes up residence on your property, you need prompt, professional skunk removal Oshawa. Being docile creatures that prefer to run away from danger whenever possible, skunks do not pose an immediate threat to humans. However, they can carry diseases that may spread to either people or pets.
How Do Skunks Spread Disease?
A skunk’s spray is its primary defensive mechanism, deployed only as a last resort after the animal has given ample warning of its intentions. Though foul-smelling, a skunk’s spray does not pose a risk of disease transmission to either people or pets. If a skunk is cornered or handled, it may bite or scratch in self-defence. If the skin is broken as a result, it may allow pathogens from the saliva to enter the bloodstream, possibly leading to infection. Skunks can also spread disease indirectly through their urine or feces. If you or a pet come in contact with these substances, you may become infected.
What Diseases Can Skunks Spread to Humans?
Roundworms are parasites that can live in the intestinal tract of humans and other mammals. You could become infected with roundworms from direct contact with the skunk’s feces. You should also be careful about swimming in any untreated body of water. It may be contaminated with roundworms from skunks’ urine, which could also lead to infection.
Exposure to skunk urine may also result in leptospirosis. This is a bacterial infection that can produce high fever, muscle pain, and headaches, although some cases are asymptomatic. Leptospirosis is treatable with antibiotics, with the prognosis being better the earlier treatment begins. However, it can also cause dangerous complications, such as kidney failure or meningitis.
If a skunk bites or scratches you, it could put you at risk for diseases such as hepatitis, tularemia, or rabies. Hepatitis is a viral condition affecting the liver. Tularemia is a rare bacterial infection that can cause sepsis, a complication that occurs when the infection spreads throughout the body via the bloodstream.
Rabies is probably the greatest threat from a skunk bite. While not all skunks are rabid, they are among the top transmitters of the disease in North America. Rabies can take days or even weeks to incubate, and a vaccination shot during that time can prevent an infection. Prompt vaccination following possible exposure is necessary because, once the virus has incubated and an infection develops, rabies is almost always fatal.
What Diseases Can Skunks Spread to Pets?
Skunks can spread all the same diseases that can infect humans to pets as well. Additionally, skunks can spread a disease called distemper that affects dogs and cats but not humans. Pets can contract this condition by coming into direct contact with an infected skunk’s urine. Distemper can attack a dog or cat’s neurological system. It often proves fatal, and even if it doesn’t, it can cause unpleasant complications, such as hardening of the nose and paw pads.
Distemper and rabies can be highly dangerous for pets, and dogs and cats are susceptible to both. For this reason, these are among the core vaccinations that pets are given on a routine basis.
What Other Problems Can Skunks Cause?
In addition to possible exposure to disease, skunks can also cause extensive property damage. They are burrowing animals that can dig down deep beneath porches, sheds, and foundations. They are difficult to deter with do-it-yourself solutions, such as scents.
What Are Your Options for Skunk Removal Oshawa?
Due to the risk of disease, removing skunks yourself is simply not an option. Fortunately, the trained technicians at Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control provide professional skunk removal services throughout the region that include screening up holes to keep them from returning.