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Today there was a raccoon on the play ground at my

children's school. It wasn't seen...
Today there was a raccoon on the play ground at my children's school. It wasn't seen until after snack but was said to be running around the playground. All the kids were taken inside until the raccoon was gone and then came back out to play.Is there any chance my children were exposed to rabies? They were not bitten but a. The raccoon was outside during the day b. It was running around the playground c. My kids played on the equipment after it was gone
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
11/17/2017
Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20,004
Experience: 15 years of small animal veterinary medicine
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Hi. My name is***** Thank you for your question. Rabies typically is spread by the virus being passed in saliva through a bite. If no one was bitten, then it wouldn't seem that there is an exposure here. In rare cases, rabies can be spread when infected saliva gets into an open wound or the mucous membranes, such as the mouth or eyes. This raccoon definitely seemed to be doing things that wouldn't seem quite natural. Some can be conditioned to be in areas where there is food - could there be lots of food in the playground area that they are being attracted too? Honestly, I would encourage contacting animal control and letting them know about this as they can trap him. Given this situation, it would be wise if he was trapped to test for rabies as a precautionary situation.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
There is a picnic shelter with trash cans out there. I just read on the humane society website that raccoons out during the day isn't uncommon and shouldn't be a sign of rabies.Can you please expand on what you believe is weird so I can talk to animal control?

Raccoons can be out during the day. They can be conditioned to be in areas where there is food - the trash cans. If there wasn't any food source there, then it would be considered more odd that they'd be there in day. They are definitely out and about. If they are around humans on a more regular basis, they become more comfortable and bold.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Do you still think a call to the animal control is necessary?
Dr. Beth
Dr. Beth, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 452
Experience: Veterinarian in practice since 2004, 5 years of exclusively feline medicine, 7 years general practice, 4 years shelter medicine
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Hi I'm Dr. Beth - based on the situation, more from the aspect of trying to keep it from coming back around, you could call animal control to find out if they would come out to try to catch or trap the raccoon.

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If no one is bitten or scratched, then they normally will not involve the health department. Some municipalities won't deal with raccoons and might refer you to an exterminator, but you can always call and explain the situation and see what they are willing to do, different counties have different policies and resources so it really depends on where you live.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Thank you. I will have to call. Do you believe that there is any reason to be concerned about rabies exposure?

From the sounds of it, no, at least for what you are describing today - unless one of the children made direct contact with it and didn't admit to it, and even then it can only be transmitted by a bite, or less commonly a scratch.

Ideally the school should let the children know that if they see an animal on school property, not to touch it and to let an adult know.

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If animal control did trap it, and it seemed ill to where they felt it needed to be euthanized, sometimes they will have it tested for rabies just to make sure that is not why it is sick. But some of the behavior you described is not necessarily abnormal, urban sprawl has made these critters bolder for being around people especially if they are hungry and smell something good.

Dr. Beth
Dr. Beth, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 452
Experience: Veterinarian in practice since 2004, 5 years of exclusively feline medicine, 7 years general practice, 4 years shelter medicine
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
The school is backed up against a neighborhood with a forest. Lots of trash cans at houses and trash cans beside the playground. It was very close to the kids and was not aggressive at all. I will contact animal control and a local vet to locate an exterminator tomorrow and see what to do. I do appreciate your help.

You're very welcome - I would guess the raccoon thinks it is a buffet just for him!

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Dr. Beth
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