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What diseases do skunks carry?

Most of us are aware of the horrific spray that skunks carry with them and spray, but there are other things inside of them that are a whole lot worse than just that. It is the diseases and parasites that they carry with them that really make them dangerous. Too many people worry about those anal glands, but being bitten by a skunk or coming in contact with its waste somehow can be incredibly dangerous to you, a whole lot more dangerous than just smelling bad.



If you come in contact with one of these animals, make sure you run the other way. Here are some things that skunks will carry with them.

Rabies – the U.S. government provides statistics that about 20 percent of all skunks have rabies. That is not a large number, but is a large enough one. Rabies is fatal to human beings if not treated right away. If you are bitten or scratched by a skunk, make sure that you are treated right away, just to be safe. Keep in mind that skunks the No. 2 carrier in the animal kingdom of rabies, so assume they have it and be safe.

Leptospirosis – this is a bacterium that all mammals are susceptible to getting. This comes from coming into contact with their urine, waste, or soil that has the fluids of a skunk on it. That means if you are in an area where skunks are known to live and move around, you really want to wear shoes and not touch anything without gloves on.

The effects of this are quite serious. It affects your kidneys and liver, meaning that you can be in real serious trouble if not treated right away. This first manifests itself as flu-like symptoms, but soon you can see things like jaundice. Kidney or liver failure will occur if not treated, and that will lead to death.

Distemper – this is another common disease found in skunks. This is easily spread to other animals, most especially to dogs. This does not affect humans, which is good news, but it can cause a lot of problems for your pets. This is contracted by coming in contact with the urine or waste of the skunk. You should have your dog vaccinated to make sure that it does not get this illness.

Herpes B – you may not think of herpes coming from a skunk, but this strain can most definitely be spread by this animal. This is commonly found in monkeys, but skunks carry it too and it can be contracted through scratches or bites.

Skunks also carry Brucellosis, Cat Scratch disease, anthrax, and influenza. There are many ways you can get sick from a skunk, so it makes sense to simply stay away from them. Read more: Skunk Control, how to kill skunks.


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