Rabies is the most deadly disease that takes away the lives of wild animals every year in huge numbers. The last survey was done in the year 2018 according to which 92% of the animals died due to rabies. Bats were the most affected species at 33% followed by raccoons at 30%. The next two affected animals were skunks at 20% and foxes at 7%.
How Do Raccoons Get Rabies?
Like any other animal, raccoons are also susceptible to rabies. The easiest way by which a raccoon gets rabies is from the bite of a rabies-infected raccoon or any other animal. Rabies can also be transferred into the body of a healthy raccoon through the saliva or fecal matter of a rabies-infected raccoon or any other animal. That is why it is recommended not to get close to a raccoon.
Why Are Raccoons So Susceptible To Rabies?
Rabies can affect almost all animals but it is seen that the effect is maximum in the case of raccoons. The reason is that they have a tendency to spread the virus faster and more effectively than any other animal. The raccoons who are living in a particular area will obviously come into contact with others and if one of them is infected it will spread the virus to the entire community.
Can You Tell If A Raccoon Has Rabies?
Simply by seeing a raccoon it is not possible to say whether it has rabies or not. This is because raccoons are mischievous in nature and their behavior can be very awkward at times. A raccoon may also act like a rabid one if it has some other disease like a distemper. Therefore, it is essential to conduct a laboratory test on the brain tissue of a raccoon to properly diagnose it.
What Are The Signs That A Raccoon Has Rabies?
As told earlier, it is not easy to identify a rabid raccoon with naked eyes. However, some of the common signs and symptoms of a rabid raccoon are Erratic wandering, Staggering gait, Discharge from the eyes or even mouth, Self-mutilation, Repeated high-pitched vocalization, and also Wet and matted hair on their face.
Do All Raccoons Carry Rabies?
No, all raccoons do not have rabies. It is only when the rabid raccoon bites a healthy one or somehow transmits the virus through the saliva or the fecal matter, that the healthy raccoon becomes affected by rabies. A rabid raccoon can infect an entire community as the virus spreads really fast in raccoons compared to other animals.
Can You Get Rabies From A Raccoon Scratch?
It is rare though not impossible for you to get rabies from the scratch of a raccoon. The most common cause of human rabies is of course the bite of a rabid raccoon or any other animal. The other sources of transmission of a rabies virus for a man can be abrasions or open wounds which are kept exposed to the saliva of rabid raccoons or other animals.
There are vaccinations for raccoons against this deadly disease called rabies. It is almost similar to the vaccinations for human children against several diseases. These vaccines are made keeping in mind that rabies is incurable. Once a raccoon gets infected by the rabies virus, it will normally die within 5 days.