Potential wildlife diseases are an important consideration when dealing with wildlife on your property. These diseases can have a huge effect on your health, as well as the health of your family members, pets, customers, or any other individuals who come in contact with your home or building. Additionally, many emerging infectious diseases among humans first stem from animal hosts. Because of this, it’s important that you manage potential wildlife diseases to protect your property.
Common Wildlife Diseases
Fatal once symptoms are displayed, this disease is a big concern for those that come in contact with mammals and the animals they care for. Rabies can change the demeanor of even the friendliest pet. Attacking the spinal system and brain, rabies causes inflammation until death occurs. It is transferred through saliva, usually when an infected animal bites another. Although there are vaccines to prevent rabies, one should still stay wary of all wild animals, especially ones acting strangely, because rabies causes hostility. If you believe there is a rabid animal in your yard, call your Wildlife X Team to safely remove it.
Although called Canine Distemper, this highly contagious disease affects more than just dogs. It can infect raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and animals in the family Mustelidae (ie. weasels, badgers, otters, etc.). There is a phase during the virus which creates symptoms similar to rabies. This makes diagnosis more difficult. Although the fatality rate of Canine Distemper is less than rabies, surviving animals usually develop irreversible neurological damage. Distemper spreads through saliva like rabies but is also carried through urine, feces, and especially respiratory secretions.
Mange is a serious health issue affecting domestic and wildlife animals. The most common, Sarcoptic Mange, is caused by mites burrowing into the outer layer of the skin. When this happens, animals infected begin to lose hair/fur, develop thicker, wrinkling skin, and grow foul-smelling scabs. Transmission occurs when animals come in direct contact with a mite-infested creature. The disease is zoonotic, meaning it is transmittable to humans. In order for you or your animals to avoid developing mange, do not come in close contact with wild animals.
Salmonellosis is caused by the bacteria Salmonella. While it is commonly spread through the consumption of contaminated food, Salmonella can also be passed between people and animals. Many animals can carry Salmonella, including:
Animals can get Salmonella by eating contaminated food and through their environment. It naturally lives in the intestines of many animals. Many animals that carry Salmonella appear clean and healthy to humans.
If humans come into contact with an animal carrying the bacteria and they don’t wash their hands, they can contract Salmonellosis. Infants, kids under the age of 5, adults 65 years old and older, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to contract Salmonellosis.
Tularemia is a disease that can infect both animals and people. Humans can get infected with tularemia by drinking contaminated water, having skin contact with an infected animal, and through tick and deer fly bites.
Symptoms of Tularemia include skin ulcers, irritated or swollen eyes, sore throat, mouth ulcers, swollen lymph glands, difficulty breathing, chest pain, and cough.
To prevent Tularemia, use insect repellent when you’re outside, and call Wildlife X Team to handle any dead animals.
Raccoon Roundworm, or Baylisascaris Pro, is a large roundworm found in raccoons. Other animals that have been diagnosed with Raccoon Roundworm include mice, squirrels, birds, rabbits, chipmunks, and woodchucks.
Humans can contract Raccoon Roundworm by ingesting the embryonated eggs. The symptoms of Raccoon Roundworm in humans includes skin irritation, eye tissues damage, and brain tissue damage. The infected person may experience nausea, lethargy, and loss of eyesight.
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through blacklegged ticks. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, and a skin rash. If Lyme Disease is not treated, it can spread through the body to the heart, nervous system, and joints.
Reducing tick habitat is one of the best ways to prevent Lyme disease. Keep grasses cut short and inspect your pets and family members after a day in the woods or outdoors. The Wildlife X Team can also assist in making a plan to prevent ticks in your yard.
Avoiding Wildlife Diseases
It’s important to be aware of which zoonotic diseases are common in your area. Research vaccinations available for you and your pets to prevent transmission. If you do come into contact with wild animals or their excrement, ensure you properly sanitize. Call your health care provider if you have any questions regarding your health and wildlife diseases.
Wildlife X Team can help balance the concern for these diseases with consideration for animal welfare and conservation. We can handle your pest and wildlife issues in a healthy, safe, and humane way, ensuring your property is disease and infection-free. For more information on diseases, visit the CDC's page on Wildlife Handling.