In 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) contacted the University of Guelph’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses (CPHAZ) about concerns pertaining to the use of the antiviral drug acyclovir in raccoons, specifically for “treatment” of distemper. While only used by a distinct minority of raccoon rehabilitators (maybe

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many major agencies took a head-in-the-sand approach to concerns about the potential for SARS-CoV-2 to infect different animal species. Fortunately,  over the last year a considerable amount of work has been done to help figure out the range of species that are susceptible to this virus, and shed

Rabies and distemper are the two things that come to mind first when a raccoon is acting strangely. Rabies is a big concern because it can also be transmitted to people. Distemper is also a viral infection, caused by canine distemper virus, and is transmissible to dogs and some wildlife species, but is not zoonotic.

It’s easy to get complacent about rabies, even when you live in an endemic region. While we have ample bat rabies, Arctic fox rabies and raccoon rabies in Ontario, spillover into domestic animals is relatively rare. Success can breed complacency, though. When control measures work, it’s easy to forget why they are so important.

That’s

Leptospirosis is a potentially nasty bacterial infection that can cause severe kidney disease (among other things) and is acquired from the environment, in cool damp areas that are contaminated with urine from infected reservoir hosts (e.g. rats, raccoons, other wildlife). It can also potentially be transmitted to people through contact with urine from an infected

As expected, rabies continues to be an issue in Ontario following the emergence of raccoon rabies in the Hamilton area in late 2015, and a separate emergence of fox rabies northwest of there around the same time. Hopefully raccoon rabies will be eradicated, as it was the first time it entered the province (1999-2005), but