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  • USA Wildlife Removal Education Guide - What diseases do squirrels carry?

What diseases do squirrels carry?

As many other rodents, squirrels are subjected to contracting and spreading various diseases, out of which some may pose only a slight discomfort while others can lead to more serious health problems. In general, squirrels that get in contact with humans in inhabited areas are rarely sick and dangerous for that matter, however, some diseases they can contract and carry may pose a health risk to other animals, humans, and domesticated animals, as well as pets. Here are some of the most frequent diseases in squirrels.

When it comes to squirrels, people mostly dread of them spreading rabies. However, squirrels get infected with rabies extremely rarely, and the symptoms are more than noticeable. A squirrel will show relatively same symptoms to rabies as other species will. Sensitivity to light, which will make them hide in the dark, excess saliva, as well as irritable behavior, are amongst the common symptoms of the disease. Squirrels may spread rabies to humans through bites and scratches

Bubonic plague
It might sound strange, but squirrels can easily become infected and spread this disease, which includes symptoms like petechial rash, fever, weakness, and gangrene while some of these rodents don't necessarily show any symptoms at all. This type of infections occurs from time to time in the Southwest of the USA, in which authorities will shut down and isolate the area until the health staff manages to stop the infection. The disease is transmittable to humans and treated with antibiotics.

Bacterial and fungal infections
If you encounter a squirrel that seems to be losing a lot of its hair, particularly growing bald on its back, or notice dark spots on their skin, chances are that the rodent has some type of a fungal or bacterial infection. These squirrels need to be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible, and these infections can spread to humans and other animals through physical contact.

Squirrel pox
Squirrel can get infected with pox through insect bites, and the disease is called squirrel fibroma. The infected squirrel will develop visible tumors on its skin, which, in general, is harmless to them. Only in the case of forming a secondary infection, squirrels may suffer from internal organ infections and fail.

Tularemia and leptospirosis
These two infections are both transmitted from squirrels to humans, and may cause liver and kidney failure. Squirrels can get infected through animal or insect bites, as well as by drinking contaminated water. Diseases can spread to humans through bites and physical contact with a corpse of a squirrel.

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