Last Updated: May 2016
Although not all raccoons are rabid raccoons, you should still take precaution. Canine distemper affects raccoons, dogs, skunks and other wildlife which is why it is important to stay alert and keep pets away from wild animals. The condition causes the animals to become disoriented, lethargic and even aggressive if cornered. It can cause harmful and potentially permanent effects to the animals’ respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems – and can even be fatal. Animals that survive canine distemper may then suffer from neurological damage. Please keep your dogs safe and have them vaccinated for CDV (Canine Distemper Virus). The virus poses no risk to human health. For Canine Distemper please call Toronto Animal Services at 416-338-7297
Rabid Raccoons Behaviour
Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of mammals. There are various strains of the virus. With the raccoon strain rabid raccoons may:
- be extremely excited
- more prone to attack or seem aggressive
- froth at the mouth
Raccoons can pick up various strains of rabies, but they are most susceptible to the raccoon strain. Risks to humans are low but you should always get check out if you are bitten or scratched by a raccoon or any wild animal. Once the symptoms show it can be fatal. If the disease is caught early, i.e. exposed people who get treated with a post-exposure vaccine right away can avoid getting sick
Tips to avoid human exposure to rabies
- Stay away from all wild animals, especially if they look sick, distressed or acting abnormal.
- If you see a potential rabid raccoon, keep the animal insight while maintaining a safe distance and report it by calling 311.
- Pets should be vaccinated. Rabies vaccinations for dogs and cats are required by law.
- Always maintain a safe distance from rabid raccoons or any rabid animal.
Read more on rabid raccoons in the official reports of Rabies Cases in Canada.