There are quite a number of diseases that skunks carry and can spread to humans and pets through bites. However, what most people are most concerned about is rabies because of its debilitating effects on the body. To begin with, rabies can only be passed to victims through bites and scratches from the infected animals. Statistics show that they are the number two carriers of this disease and mostly pass it on through saliva. As a matter of fact, if victims are left unattended, the infection will cause serious problems to the nervous system and can even lead to death. It’s for this reason vaccination is important for animals and humans alike – but you can still fall sick if you’re bitten by a skunk that carries the virus.
The other disease that is prevalent among skunks and can easily be spread to animals is Distemper. This disease is commonly spread to dogs when they make contact with the urine of sick skunks. However, there are no statistics showing that it can affect humans. The good news is that there is a vaccination for this disease and so it is quite manageable – all factors being constant. Importantly, if you keep your dog away from where these animals live and not involve your animal in hunting for skunks, it is unlikely to get infected by the disease.
Leptospirosis is another common bacterial disease that is transmitted by coming into contact with the urine of skunks that have been infected. This can happen through food, water, and even soil. If you go swimming in water that is infected, then you have a high chance of contracting this disease. In many cases, this will happen through the eyes, nose or broken skin. The patients tend to exhibit flu-like symptoms, and in severe cases it will lead to both kidney and liver failure.
It is vital for you to note that zoonoses (diseases transmitted to human beings by animals) are mostly transferred through scratches and bites. The above mentioned diseases are the most common you and your pets can get from skunks, and so it is a good idea to keep them away from your home and neighborhood. If you kill a skunk, then you will have to bear with the foul smell around your garden or compound for a pretty long time. As a word of advice, prevent any diseases by keeping skunks away using relevant techniques.
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