Rabies and Other DiseasesFirst, it’s important to note that rabies is relatively rare. In 2018, there were only 50 confirmed raccoon cases in all of southwestern Ontario. Raccoons are the most common rabies carrier in Canada, but the threat is fairly rare. Other animals also carry rabies in Canada. Raccoons, bats, foxes and skunks are the most common, but most mammals can become carriers. Rabies doesn’t affect fish, birds or other non-mammal animals, but these wild animals can carry their own infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans. Raccoons can transmit many other diseases, however, and even a healthy raccoon can be a threat if it feels cornered. Avoid the risk of rabies, roundworm, distemper and other issues by treating every raccoon in your home or on your property as a serious threat.
Signs of RabiesRabies primarily spreads through bites or saliva from an infected animal. Raccoons and other animals can present two very different forms of rabies. These two forms are from the same viral infection, so watch out for both the furious form and dumb form of rabies. A raccoon may exhibit extreme excitement or aggression as part of the furious form of rabies. An infected raccoon is usually thin and feeble but may still appear energetic and agitated. Some raccoons even attempt to attack other animals or gnaw at their own limbs. Other symptoms are classified as the dumb form of rabies. These include actions that appear as depression. Lethargic raccoons may avoid social interactions with their own kind but lose their fear of humans. This form of rabies can also cause partial paralysis. Any animals infected with rabies present these and similar symptoms. It’s possible for humans to contract rabies from exposure to infected animals. Look for these symptoms of possible rabies in yourself or anyone in your family:
- Confusion and anxiety
- Excessive salivation
- Partial paralysis