Raccoon Roundworm — What is it?

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There are many diseases and parasites associated with wild raccoons, just one reason why you wouldn't want these masked creatures anywhere near your home or place of work. Raccoon roundworm, for example, is just one common problem that comes hand in hand with a raccoon invasion, and there is NO known cure. The best way to keep your family safe against Baylisascaris procyonis is to make sure they don't come into contact with it, and contact could be so slight, you might not even know it has occurred.

Also read about:
A List of Raccoon Diseases
Types of Damage Caused By Raccoons in the Attic
Raccoons in the Attic: Are There Babies?
What Should I Do About a Raccoon Nest in the Attic?
Raccoons & Homeowners Insurance: Am I Covered?

A raccoon that is infected with Baylisascaris procyonis or raccoon roundworm will expel eggs in their thousands, in feces, also known as raccoon ‘skat'. The eggs are durable and hardy, seemingly unaffected by weather elements and relatively harsh conditions, and they have been known to still be active for many years before hatching. They will only hatch when they have been ingested by an animal — the host. Rats are well known to eat the feces of other animals, so if they were to eat the roundworm parasite eggs in raccoon skat, they could also then have their roundworm inside their bodies too.

When only a few eggs have been swallowed or ingested, the body will usually fight the parasite off pretty well, and it will pass with relatively few or no symptoms. The more eggs that are ingested, the more prominent symptoms will become, and the more severe too. The eggs of the roundworm soon hatch and develop into roundworm larvae, making their way through the body, bit by bit. They'll head for the braid and liver, perhaps the spinal cord, and any other important organs they meet along the way.

Symptoms normally take a couple of weeks to rear their and, at best, they can be described as rather vague. A bit of tiredness and nausea at first is usually not something that many people would worry about. After a few more days, however, the symptoms become more severe, leading to difficulty listening, reading, and functioning, alongside co-ordination problems around other people and in certain situations. No control of the muscles can be reported, and in some serious cases, the outcome can be a coma and/or death.

This is not a disease to play around with.

How to Avoid Raccoon Roundworm

As we have already mentioned, there is no known cure for raccoon roundworm. The only way to ensure the safety of you and your family is to make sure they don't have the opportunity to come into contact with raccoon skat/feces. This will, of course, mean the removal and eradication of any currently present raccoons, even if they are friendly most of the time. Luckily, raccoons do tend to use one particular area or areas to expel their waste, unlike rodents who just go-as-they-run. This can work a little in your favor when you have a raccoon infestation to tidy up after, because the waste products will usually be concentrated to a particular and small area, often far enough away from nests or dens and feeding spots that the animal can't contaminate the more comfortable areas of its abode.

Go back to the Raccoon Removal page, or learn tips to do it yourself with my How to Get Rid of Raccoons guide.

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