Sick raccoon symptoms, be safe and look out for these

Racoons are mammals, when they’re sick they have similar symptoms to other mammals such as cats, dogs and humans. Raccoons can also carry a whole range of diseases that can be quite fatal to themselves, other animals and humans. It is necessary to know what sick raccoon symptoms are. This will help you identify what is going wrong with the animal.


This is what racoons are pretty much known for. This is a disease that can be spread by the racoon being bitten or scraped by a rabid racoon.  Thankfully the disease doesn’t last long outside the body of any of its hosts.

Rabies affects the racoon’s brain in alarming ways, changing their personality completely. Some well know symptoms will include aggression and foaming at the smooth but there can also be a variety of other symptoms that the animal might experience:

  • Aggression towards people and or other animals
  • Confusion and seeming lost
  • Seemingly obvious noises and events will not register with by the animal
  • White foaming at the mouth            
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Discharge from the eyes, mouth and nose
  • Regular high-pitched noises
  • Self-mutilation
  • Wet matted fur on the raccoons face

Canine Distemper

This is a disease that can affect raccoons and other mammals alike. It is a measles-related disease. You might find that a racoon with this disease will show similar symptoms to a raccoon that has rabies.

Unfortunately, unlike rabies, this disease can survive outside the raccoon’s body for a number of days. This makes it more difficult to deal with and get rid of.  If the disease is more advanced then the symptoms can have more drastic effects on the animal, these effects will include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Very high fevers
  • Weight loss
  • Labored breathing.

Feline Distemper

This is a disease that attacks raccoons but it will not attack the neurological system like rabies and canine distemper will. This disease can survive outside the raccoon’s body for a number of days making it more difficult to deal with and get rid of.  This is not as fatal as the two mentioned above. Still, it can in some cases result in the death of the raccoon. The symptoms of this disease will include:

  • Foamy vomit
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Depression
  • A loss of appetite


This is a disease that can have a couple of negative effects on raccoons but the effects are not as bad as the ones mentioned above. When the roundworm eggs, which travel in the faeces of the animal, get into the environment they will develop into the roundworm and can survive in the soil for years on end.  This disease can also affect other animals such as domesticated cats or dogs. The symptoms of this disease will include:

  • Coma
  • Uncoordinated actions
  • Lethargic state of being
  • Loss of control of the muscles


This disease will affect not only raccoons but also possums and skunks. It’s also a disease what can be transferred to humans. It is carried in the urine of racoons and a number of other wild or domesticated animals. This can be transferred though contaminated water or soil as well as touching the animal that has this disease. The symptoms will include

  • Severe illness
  • Muscle aches
  • High fevers

Are raccoons sick if they come out during the day?

If you see a racoon out in the day whether it’s in the yard, in the wild or in your house then you might be alarmed. We are usually told that raccoons are nocturnal creatures and that if you find them out in the morning then they will have rabies.

This can be true but if a raccoon is outside it could just be the mother foraging for food for her cubs. You should check the behaviour of the raccoon if it shows symptoms of having rabies or any other disease.  I have an article on how to tell if a baby raccoon has rabies here.

Preventing raccoon contact

You need to make sure you don’t approach the raccoon at all, you won’t know if the raccoon has any of the above-mentioned diseases. If you get to close and they feel threatened they might attack you. An attack won’t end well on your side. This is how to keep them off your property:

  • Don’t feed raccoons – they will stop being afraid of humans
  • Keep pet food inside
  • Keep trashcans closed at all times
  • Clean barbecue grills as soon as you finish using them
  • Keep doors and windows closed.

What to do if a raccoon attacks you?

You need to quickly seek medical attention. There is a chance that you’ve missed the symptoms of above-motioned diseases. The quicker you get medical attention the better your chance is of survival.

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Sick raccoon symptoms, be safe and look out for these
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