Living with Wildlife – Raccoons

Racoons in Sudden Valley are very common and do frequent Sudden Valley residents homes (especially if there is food available). We lose sight of the fact that racoons are wild animals and being wild animals they tend to carry certain diseases that can be very harmful to your pets and to humans. A major disease that racoons can carry is Canine Distemper, which has recently been identified in an animal here in Sudden Valley.

Public Health Concerns (canine distemper information provided Department of Fish and Game )

A disease that contributes significantly to raccoon mortality is canine distemper. Canine distemper is also a common disease fatal to domestic dogs, foxes, coyotes, mink, otters, weasels, and skunks. It is caused by a virus and is spread most often when animals come in contact with the bodily secretions of animals infected with the disease. Gloves, cages, and other objects that have come in contact with infected animals can also contain the virus. The best prevention against canine distemper is to have your dogs vaccinated and kept away from raccoons.

If a person is bitten or scratched by a raccoon, immediately scrub the wound with soap and water. Flush the wound liberally with tap water. In other parts of the United States raccoons can carry rabies. Contact your physician and the local health department immediately. If your pet is bitten, follow the same cleansing procedure and contact your veterinarian.

Raccoons and domestic pets are at risk for contracting distemper when there has been feeding of wildlife. This encourages them to congregate in one area, spreading diseases that they would not naturally spread at such a fast rate. This also provides a chance for debilitated animal to gain access to easy food and continue to shed different diseases. We see this all too often when well-meaning members of the public feed any wildlife. The advice that we give is to never leave out food for wildlife, and if people feed their pets outdoors, to ensure that all food and water is taken away prior to the evening.

If someone should see a sick wild animal, including a raccoon, they should call the wildlife center at (360) 966 – 8845 for further guidance. They also should have all of their pets vaccinated.

A reminder, it is against Sudden Valley Rules and Regulations to feed the wildlife and as you see from the information provided there can be serious consequences if bitten by a racoon to a pet and a person, so be safe observe the from safe distance and remember they are not outdoor pets they are wild animals.