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

Here’s the latest map of the terrestrial rabies cases in southwestern Ontario.  Raccoon-variant cases still centre on the Hamilton area.  It was never assumed that this particular outbreak would be eliminated quickly, given the case numbers seen in the first several months and the additional challenges of trying to control the spread of the virus

1) Pick up baby raccoons and take them away

  • Raccoon litter JVGRarely does this end well. It’s illegal in many areas (including Ontario). Raccoons don’t do well long-term in households for various reasons (their curious and destructive nature being a big one). And, they are potential sources of a number of zoonotic diseases (rabies being a big

This month, Public Health Ontario released a new Rabies Guidance Document for Healthcare Providers. It’s nothing particularly new but a good review of the recommended response to rabies exposure from various animal species, something that’s unfortunately often messed up or made more complicated than necessary. It includes some nice flowcharts, such as the one