How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask DrRalston Your Own Question
DrRalston, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2205
Experience:  Over twelve years of experience in surgery and internal medicine.
Type Your Veterinary Question Here...
DrRalston is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

i attempted to raise two baby raccoons.

This answer was rated:

i attempted to raise two baby raccoons..had them about 3 weeks died about 7 or 8 days after i had them the other died more than 2 weeks later. Could it have been rabies??i was never bit and washed my hands thoroughly after feeding?? i am not experiencing any symptoms and had a rabie vaccine many years ago..the babies didnt exhibit any unusual symptoms either.
Raccoon kits can be notoriously difficult to raise.

Although Rabies does happen, it is very unlikely in kits. There are other viral disease to be concerned of though including distemper.

Roundworms also affect racoons, and specifically there is one called Baylisascaris. This is infectious to people and can get into the central nervous system of people causing severe illness. (please click to see this link regarding raccoon roundworm infections from the Centers of Disease Control)

It will not be possible of course for me to diagnose the raccoons over the internet. You should know that even in the hands of a trained wildlife rehabilitator these kits often will not survive. Much of it depends on how dehydrated they were when found, how underwight, how long they have been away from the mother, and nutrition they receive under rescue care.

It is also important to note that in many states raising raccoons is ILLEGAL and you can possibly face large fines. It is best handled by appropriate wildlife rehabilitators. They have the experience needed to raise these guys, the equipment, proper nutrition, incubators, and most importantly the area to release them when they get large enough to be released. Raccoons imprint on people, which makes them a HUGE problem when they get older. It isn't just that they keep coming back. In some cases they keep coming back, and become violent. They might even attempt to mate with the previous human owner resulting in conflicts (obviously) and often scratches or even bites.

So, I admire your attempt, but there are many reasons why you shouldn't do it.
DrRalston and other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
There were a litter of 5 and all of them are about 6 to 7 weeks old. There are 3 surviving and show no signs of any problems and i do not have them. I was careful not to touch the feces and washed my hands repeatedly. Is there a special blood test that my doctor should take to see if any parasites might have been passed on to me or anyone else that handled them??
Again, I really want to tell you that it is cool that you helped out the raccoons. I do respect that Nick.

You said "There are 3 surviving and show no signs of any problems and i do not have them" Do you mean that they are not showing signs and you do not have signs? Or do you mean they are not showing signs, and you no longer have the raccoons?

I am unaware of a blood test that can diagnose roundworms in pets. I believe there may be one in humans. If you think you have been exposed, you should consult with your physician and be sure to let them know you have been exposed to raccoons and possibly their feces.

That link I gave you also goes into more detail about human infection. Although I can give medical advice concerning all other animals, humans are one primate not included in that list.

(from the CDC for health professionals regarding Baylisascaris)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I do not have the remaining litter and contacted someone that did..a facility and they said none of the others are showing any problems what so ever..I do not have any symptoms of any kind other than anxiety over the loss and some worry if i was passed on something. I will have my doctor run a blood test just as you advise. thanks..

Good luck Nick.

Honestly, likely the kits just died. They do that sometimes no matter what you do. Again, a lot of that has to deal with how bad of shape they were in when you found them. It's not uncommon to lose a few. 2 out of 5 isn't bad.

You have to remember that if the mom was sick and died, the kits probably are sick as well and have a worse chance of survival. Being left alone didn't help that. You did the best you could. I wouldn't worry about that.

Mostly, it is just that mom's milk and care is always going to be better. Same with squirrels. I've raised several of these (working with wildlife rehab) and sometimes they just don't make it.

I would say your risk of disease is low, and it might be alarmist to even mention the roundworms, but because they are present, and because of the very real (although slim) possibility, it is my duty to at least inform you about it. Treatment, diganosis, and such would of course be out of my range, and best handled by your doctor. It's worth at least a visit to help get the anxiety out of your mind and give you peace.

Hope that helps.

You can also post this question in the human medical section of this website. There are physicians there that would be glad to speak to you about any medical questions you have.

Thanks for your question,
And if it was helpful thanks for your positive feedback.