The dangers of Raccoon Roundworm
If having a raccoon on your property or in your home wasn’t bad enough, raccoons leaving their feces around your property can lead to a potentially deadly disease called “raccoon roundworm”. If you live in an urban area or a place where you see raccoons fairly often we suggest you get a pest control technician and talk to your health care provider to see how they can help you in the event of a racoon roundworm infection.
Also known as “Baylisascaris procyonis” , is the common large roundworm found in the small intestinal tract of raccoons. Raccoon roundworm becomes a producer of dangerous diseases when the raccoon feces is exposed to air and a warm warmer temperature, making the roundworm eggs infected.
The egg ridden, infected feces can be ingested by other wild animals or even your own cats and dogs, making them a source of infection. Fecal matter can also travel though air, making the disease airborne.
Raccoons tend to use establish latrines on rooftops, in attics and around chimneys to defecate in. This becomes dangerous when these places accumulate in roundworm eggs which become a long term source of infections for both wild animals and humans.
Once the eggs get into your system , they hatch and turn into larvae. The larvae then travel through the brain and spine through the cerebrospinal fluid found in the spine and brain.
Who is most at risk?
Wild animals are most at risk for picking up raccoon roundworm, as mentioned earlier they tend to ingest the infect feces unknowingly and become hosts of roundworm infections themselves.
Children who play in the dirt, or outside in general, and like to get their hands dirty and put things in their mouths are at high risk as they may not be able to see the difference between dirt and feces and fecal matter.
The developmentally disabled need special attentions as well as they tend to behave the same as young children.
What are the symptoms of raccoon roundworm?
Racoon roundworm (Baylisascaris infection) symptoms can vary. It depends on how many eggs are ingested and where in the body the larvae travel to.
Eggs hatch into larvae once ingested and travel through the liver, brain and spinal cord.
A small amount of eggs being ingested may lead to no issues ,but a larger amount can lead too:
- Liver Enlargement
- Lack of Coordination
- Lack of attention
- Loss of muscle control
Some cases of infection have even led to death. Its easy to confuse these symptoms for something less serious so it’s especially important that children and the developmentally disabled are checked as soon as possible for potential roundworm infection.
Diseases that can develop from racoon roundworm
Encephalitis is a swelling of the brain hat results from a viral infection. It usually starts abruptly and develops fast so it does require urgent care. It usually starts with a fever and headache and becomes as serious as seizures, confusion, drowsiness and loss of consciousness and even coma.
Feline panleukopenia is a disease that affects cats. Feline panleukopenia attacks growing cells like those in the bone marrow, intestines and any developing fetus. Its common in cats ages 3-5 and happens more often in warmer times of the year. Older cats are more immune than younger ones, so its important to be aware of symptoms of the younger ones. There is no cure for FP , only treatments to support the cats care.
Canine distemper is a disease that impacts dogs and has no known cure yet. Its spread through the air and through direct contact with other infected animals. It attacks the tonsils and lymph nodes where it replicates itself for about one week. After that in attacks the urogenital , gastrointestinal and nervous system. Symptoms of canine distemper include high fever, reddened eyes and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. Abnormal enlargements of the pads of the dogs feet is common with canine distemper as well.
Herpes simplex is a common virus is mostly seen as a cold sore or a fever blister. It can be nuisance. Some symptoms include blistering sores, pain during urination and itching. Some symptoms can be similar to a flu like fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, tiredness and lack of appetite. It’s usually spread through kissing, and sharing anything used around the mouth. There is no cure for the disease, but treatments are available to prevent further spread.
Also known as parasitosis, Parasitic disease affects any living organism. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, weight loss, increase appetite, bowel obstructions, diarrhea and vomiting which can lead to dehydration, sleeping problems, worms present in the vomit or stools, anomia, aching muscles or joints, general malaise, allergies, fatigue, nervousness. Parasitic disease is spread through feces or the inadequate disposal of feces. Parasitic disease is usually treated with antiparasitic drugs.
Raccoons can cause serious issues and even though some may appear cute and friendly and your kids want to keep a raccoon as a pet, its what they leave behind as they scavenge and squat that can cause major issues caused by raccoon roundworm . Click here for an in-depth article on raccoons on your property.
Don’t wait for the worst to happen, have your raccoon situation assessed!
After doing a situational analysis and discussing some of your concerns with the removal of the raccoons we begin our investigation on how the raccoon(s) have been entering your property. In many cases, their entry points will be either in the house, on the roof, underneath the house or under your deck/patio. We will also point out potential entry points that other raccoons may use in the future so we can address that immediately as well. We know that you would like to have the raccoon or raccoons nuisance removed as quickly as possible, but also in a way that is humane and ethical. We make sure that we discuss removal options with consideration to your preferences, your property and your time.
The usual process is called the “one-way door” method in which the raccoon’s entry/exit point is covered by the installation of a screen which allows the raccoon to leave the through the door but not re-enter. Eventually, for common reasons like gathering food from food sources outside of the property the raccoon will leave its dwelling as part of its regular routine. At that point the one way door is used and the raccoon is prevented from re-entering.
If the raccoon has babies, an alternative method is conducted for the safety of the animals. The one way method is not used as this would cause the babies to be separated from their mother leaving them abandoned. Instead the babies will be safely moved to an insulated box outside of their nesting area where they will remain until the mother comes and picks them up and relocates them to a new den.
While uncommon, if trapping is involved in the raccoon removal process, it is done so in a humane method where the raccoon is uninjured and are moved to a location at least 1 kilometer away, in accordance to Ontario law.
For future prevention our technicians can do a thorough inspection of possible entry points and weak spots in your home.. After finding some major entry points and others areas that have the potential to become entry points, we give you options that take these problems, your property and the safety of the animal into account. We then seal off these entry points with galvanized steel mesh to prevent any re-entry.
To avoid encountering these issues and more, call a professional wildlife control technician at SOS Wildlife Control. For residential, commercial and industrial solutions, SOS Wildlife Control Inc. can be there to help you with your wildlife removal problem.