Sick Raccoons: If it’s Not Rabies, it’s Probably Distemper

Since raccoons are nocturnal, spotting one out during the day might instantly lead you to believe that it is sick with the Rabies virus. But more often than not, what may initially appear as Rabies is actually another type of viral disease called Canine Distemper. Continue reading to learn how to identify signs of Distemper in raccoons, and what you should do if you ever come across a sick raccoon during the daytime.

Raccoon Distemper

Raccoon Distemper is a highly infectious viral disease that is similar to the measles virus. It’s commonly found in wild raccoons and other nuisance wildlife as well. If you own a cat or dog, then you may be familiar with the Canine Distemper vaccine. This is a common vaccination given to pets every year to boost their immunity to the Distemper virus in case they ever come in contact with it some way or another.

It is spread just like a common cold, by airborne droplets of bodily fluid or discharges (i.e. sneeze, cough, spit, mucus, saliva, blood, feces, etc.). This virus can cause partial paralysis, violent seizures, fevers, vomiting, and more, and can affect both humans and pets. Without vaccinations, pets are unlikely to survive the virus, whereas, humans can be treated and cured. It is strongly suggested to have your pets vaccinated against Rabies, Distemper, Lyme, Leptospirosis, and more. Consider your veterinarian’s advice in terms of annual pet vaccines.

Distemper in Raccoons

If you spot a raccoon out during the day, alone and behaving oddly, then it is very likely that it is sick. Many symptoms of sickness fall into several of the same categories, so what sometimes seems like one illness is actually another. But in terms of Distemper, a raccoon that has been infected with the virus may display the following signs:

• Wet Eyes
• Runny Nose
• Lethargy/Fatigue
• Aggression
• Lack of Ability to Stand or Walk
• Loss of Appetite
• Inactivity
• Confusion
• Diarrhea
• And More

Spotting a Raccoon Nearby

If you happen to come across a raccoon during the day, whether they appear to exhibit signs of sickness or not, always keep your distance and never taunt them. Just because a raccoon is out during the day does not always mean there is something wrong with their health; they may just be lost from their mother, or foraging for food a bit early.

So regardless if a raccoon is sick or not, never attempt to approach or touch a wild raccoon. Instead, turn around and go the other way, or simply wait for the raccoon to wander off. If the raccoon appears sick and is on public property, there is no way to tell if it will move from that spot or not. In this case, as a Good Samaritan, it is polite to notify a raccoon removal company to pick up the sick raccoon so that it cannot indirectly harm another person, child, or pet.

Indianapolis Raccoon Removal and Control

Call 317-535-4605 for prompt and professional raccoon removal services in Indianapolis and its surrounding counties. We are highly trained and DNR licensed wildlife control contractors with decades of experience providing safe and humane raccoon exclusion services for residential and commercial properties. We offer raccoon removal, raccoon cleanup, minor attic restorations for raccoon damages, raccoon proofing, and much more. Call 317-535-4605 today for Indianapolis raccoon removal and control you can trust!

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