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Raccoons, common to the Midlothian area, are generally nocturnal, but can also be active during daylight hours. They may eat fruits, nuts, seeds, bird eggs, snakes, insects and when the opportunity presents itself pet food and human food.
It is very important adults and children are careful and do not approach raccoons. Raccoons, like other wildlife can carry zoonotic diseases. In Texas, raccoons are considered a high-risk rabies carrier and any human or pet contact with raccoons should be reported to Animal Services. In addition to rabies, raccoons may also carry and transmit canine distemper which is a virus that attacks the nervous system of infected animals. Distemper in animals can spread by infected animals sneezing and coughing as well as sharing food and water bowls with other animals.
To protect your pets against zoonotic diseases, distemper and rabies, keep your pets vaccinated. Unvaccinated dogs and cats are at risk of infection from, as well as posing a risk of infection to, raccoons and other wildlife. Take precautions to prevent your dog from having contact with wildlife or any animal not vaccinated. Early signs of distemper include thick mucus coming from the eyes or nose of the animal, fever, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea. In the later stages, altered neurological behavior such as staggering has been observed
Neurologic distemper can be confused with rabies. Rabies is a very serious and often fatal disease in both humans and animals. Rabies and distemper in animals can be prevented by vaccination. Midlothian Animal Services is encouraging all pet owners to work with their veterinarians to make sure their puppies and adult dogs are current on vaccinations. If a pet is suspected of having distemper or has been in contact with sick raccoons or sick dogs with distemper, the pet should be seen immediately by a veterinarian.
People should not handle wildlife, especially those that are not acting normal. If a person happens to be bitten by a neurologic dog, fox, or raccoon, they should maintain control of the animal or carcass and contact their local health care provider and Animal Services. Do not shoot neurologic animals in the head because it could destroy tissue needed for testing. For further information or questions, please call the City of Midlothian Animal Services at 972-775-7614. To report animals that appear sick after hours or on the weekend please call the non-emergency number at 972-775-3333 for Animal Control or P.D. response.