Periodically, I will be sharing information on pets, wildlife and other relevant topics on this page. The intention is to keep you, our residences, informed with information that will help you and your pets be a happy and healthy.
Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns regarding animal control issues at (973) 500-8319. There are additional contacts listed on adjoining pages.
In the past two weeks we have had two raccoon incidents in the Blairstown area. Both animals were acting lethargic, had difficulty walking and behaving irregularly. Raccoons are cute animals, but they mask some serious diseases.
Their mating season falls generally anytime between January and June. Most females begin reproducing around the age of one. The female has a 65-day gestation period and gives birth to two to five kits, usually in the spring.
Raccoon risks include:
· If accustomed to humans, they often become aggressive and unafraid.
· People and pets can be attacked and bitten; small pets may be killed.
· Raccoon urine spreads the disease leptospirosis which affects people and can be fatal in dogs.
· Their feces spread a dangerous roundworm egg that is especially hazardous for children.
· Raccoon “latrines” contaminate soil, making it unsafe for play or gardening.
Zoonotic diseases that can be passed to humans include the first three:
Raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris infection) - is an intestinal raccoon roundworm, can infect humans and a variety of other animals. Raccoons establish community latrines, where they repeatedly deposit fresh feces that are very likely to contain the roundworm eggs. They can survive in the soil for several years. Symptoms of infection in people depend on how many eggs are ingested and where in the body the larvae migrate (travel to), such as the liver, brain, eye, or spinal cord. Symptoms may include tiredness, lack of coordination, loss of muscle control, blindness, and coma.
Leptospirosis - Leptospirosis is a disease caused by Leptospira bacteria that are carried in the urine of rats, raccoons, and some other wild and domestic animals. Leptospirosis can occur in both people and a wide range of animals, including dogs. People and animals can get infected when water or soil contaminated with urine of infected animals gets on their skin, or in the nose, mouth, throat or eyes, or is swallowed. Dogs are at higher risk of infection because they often drink or lick water on the ground that can be contaminated; infected dogs can become severely ill or even die. Some people infected with leptospirosis will have no symptoms at all, and some people will become severely ill. Leptospirosis may cause influenza-like symptoms, severe head and muscle aches, high fever, and in some cases serious liver and kidney problems.
Rabies - raccoons can carry rabies, and it is fatal to the animal. If a raccoon is acting abnormally or appears sick stay away from the animal and call Animal Control. If bitten by a rabid animal, the individual typically has to undergo rabies treatment. If not treated, the individual will die.
Canine distemper - Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs - it can be fatal. Canine distemper in raccoons causes the animal to appear to have rabies.
How to prevent Raccoon Problems:
· Do not feed raccoons! They can find food on their own.
· Cover garbage cans securely.
· Properly maintain your compost pile.
· Secure your home so that raccoons can’t nest in your attic or crawlspace.
· Secure your pet door so they can’t come in your house.