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raccoons carrying disease into your home

Common Raccoon Diseases

There are plenty of reasons why you don’t raccoons on your home or property, but probably the biggest concern is the diseases that they carry.

Diseases that raccoons carry can be spread to humans and also to our pets.

You can be in danger of contracting diseases from not just an encounter with a raccoon, but also from accidentally coming in contact with their urine or droppings. This can especially put children or pets at risk because innocent play can bring them in contact with excrement.

That’s all the reason you need to want to get rid of raccoons. You don’t want them in your attic, under your shed or on your property.

Let’s review a list of some of the dangerous and contagious diseases that raccoons can carry.

If you need professional raccoon removal, contact us online or call (847) 464-1861

Common Raccoon Diseases

Distemperraccoon roundworm

Distemper is a viral disease that can infect raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and many other animals. Dogs are especially susceptible to contracting the disease from wild animals or infected dogs.

It is much more dangerous to your dog actually than it is to you. Humans can contract the virus but usually produces no symptoms or illness.

Related: Chicago raccoons with distemper


Giardiasis is an infection that can be transmitted by raccoons as well as many other animals. It is a microscopic parasite that can be spread through feces and can contaminate water, soil or any surface it contacts. Humans can become infected by unknowingly ingesting the droppings on contaminated surfaces.


Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that raccoons can spread through their urine and droppings. This infection can spread to both humans and animals. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure, respiratory distress, or even death.

Related: Leptospirosis: A pest-related infection


Salmonella is a bacteria that is infectious to humans and can cause severe illness. It can spread from raccoon droppings which contain the salmonella bacteria. This can infect surfaces with salmonella and then be accidentally ingested or spread through contact.

The bacteria can stay dormant in a dry environment for a long time, and then become active when conditions become favorable to it. It can cause fever, severe diarrhea, and abdominal pain.


Rabies is a virus which can be carried by raccoons and many other wild animals. It can infect both humans and pets. It can spread from saliva or by being scratched or bitten by a raccoon. It is very important to seek treatment if you have come in contact with a raccoon because rabies can be fatal.

Related: Six signs a raccoon may be rabid


Roundworms are parasites that can spread from raccoons to humans and pets. Raccoons can be infected with roundworms and then spread their eggs through their droppings. The eggs are very tiny and may become airborne, making it possible for them to be inhaled and infecting people.

If infected with roundworms, symptoms are likely to show and cause serious illness within a week. Roundworms can affect the central nervous system, impair organs, impair brain functioning and can even be fatal or cause blindness.

Related: Raccoon roundworm: A dangerous threat

If you need professional raccoon removal, contact us online or call (847) 464-1861


Chicago Raccoons With Distemper in 2016

raccoons with distemper

What is Distemper?

Distemper is a highly contagious virus that causes widespread mortality among large raccoon populations. Raccoons are susceptible to both canine and feline distemper, though they are different viruses. Canine distemper usually appears as an upper respiratory infection and later develops into conjunctivitis (pink eye). Feline distemper is associated with high fever, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, and a severe decrease in white blood cells.

Chicago Raccoons With Distemper

Country officials have found a large amount of dead raccoons with canine distemper this spring, at 56%. This number exceeds the distemper numbers from Cook County’s epidemic, a decade ago, which was 46%. This huge increase is nothing short of an epidemic and pet owners should be wary. Raccoons make their homes anywhere, including urban areas, and distemper is not impervious to reaching city raccoons.

Signs of Raccoons with Distemper

Raccoons suffering canine distemper may be disoriented, wander in circles, suffer paralysis, and exhibit strange behavior as a result of brain damage. This behavior is similar to rabid raccoon behavior and often mistaken as rabies. Some liken the distempered raccoons to zombies. The raccoons are active during the daytime (though they are nocturnal) show little fear of humans, and exhibit bizarre, sleepy behavior.

Treatment & Prevention

There is no treatment that exists to remedy canine or feline distemper. Dogs can pick up distemper from infected raccoons even if they do not come in direct contact with the animals. They can contract distemper from airborne exposure and sharing food or water with other infected dogs. Humans are not at risk for distemper. The best method to minimize risk of distemper is through vaccination. Dogs that contract canine distemper can exhibit cold-like symptoms, lose appetite, have seizures, and catch pneumonia if left untreated. Vaccinate your pets immediately to prevent distemper infection.

Raccoons with distemper are usually euthanized.

If you discover a raccoon acting strangely, especially during the daytime, or a raccoon carcass on your property – call animal control services to remove the animal and protect your pets.