[Masthead] Overcast ~ 52°F  
High: 62°F ~ Low: 54°F
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

It's the Law, Part Two

Posted Sunday, September 16, 2012, at 5:01 PM

Wildlife laws are put into place to protect people. All people - well-intentioned or not. The situation may seem harmless, such as when a child or adult finds a wild baby (insert: rabbit, turtle, raccoon, bird) and simply wants to nurture it until it grows up or is feeling better.

Let's discuss zoonotic diseases. This is a classification for diseases that are transmittable from animals to humans. We always hear about rabies because it is fatal. Generally, we picture an animal that is foaming at the mouth, extremely debilitated and is highly aggressive. However, there are an immeasurable amount of animals which can carry and transmit the disease; and never have a symptom.

There are many other zoonotic diseases among wildlife that you never hear about it. Some of these can be fatal, especially in younger children whose immune systems are not fully developed. Some of these include salmonella, ptomaine, tularemia and cryptospiridiosis. They can also harbor canine/feline distemper and parvovirus, which can be fatal to unvaccinated family pets. In the best of scenarios these diseases can make you feel really sick for a while.

At Walden's Puddle, we once received a call to rescue a mother raccoon and 3 babies from a Sears 18-wheeler which came to Nashville from Missouri. The mother was thin and weak, and our initial reaction was to believe she was simply in a starved state. In order to try to preserve the whole family, we separated them for nutritional purposes and planned to reunite them a few days later. Within a week, the mother and all babies were dead.

We could have assumed it was from starvation and dehydration. Instead, when the first animal died we sent the body to a lab for necropsy. A necropsy is to animals what an autopsy is to people. The whole family was infected by cryptospiridiosis, a nasty intestinal bacteria that people can also catch. It had infected some of the water in Missouri and several people had died from it.

What we SAW was a poor starving mother who was doing everything she could to care for 3 young babies whose eyes had not even opened. What we HAD was a potentially deadly bacterial disease that could have caused a lot of problems to a lot of people. (From Walden's inception, we were using sterile conditions, gloves and a lot of disease prevention!)

The point here is - TWRA and U.S. F & W have laws designed to keep people safe from dangers and hazards that might not be visible to the naked eye.

The things that we can't see are often the ones that are most dangerous to us - that's kind of a statement about life!!!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Some sobering facts Vicky.

Got a question about Bobcat disease. Any thoughts?

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Sep 17, 2012, at 7:51 PM

Bobcat disease??? Never heard of this - please explain!

-- Posted by wildwoman on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 8:24 AM

Bobcat disease/fever is transmitted by fleas to cats. It is not transmittable to humans, but is 90% or greater fatal to cats. It is named bobcat fever because it was first diagnosed in bobcats. I have one of the lucky 10% kitties that happened to survive the disease because the corect treatment was started before we even had a diagnosis. It symtoms include a very high fever and serve hemolytic anemia.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 3:09 PM

Slight correction, bobcat fever is transmitted by a tick and not fleas. Didn't totally proof my post and I think I had fleas in mind cause I've been fighting fleas with all my dogs.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Tue, Sep 18, 2012, at 11:30 PM

I am familiar with FeLeuk and HIV but had never heard of this. Thanks for the info. Sorry about your flea problem, though. Have you tried some of the meds like Frontline, etc.?

-- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Sep 19, 2012, at 8:46 AM

I had heard that it is transmitted by a specific tick, the dog tick which looks different from a deer tick. The best way I can describe it is it looks like a brown BB when it is young.

We had one young cat that was treated with Frontline and always acted lethargic for a few days after his treatment. Coincidentally, right after one of these treatments, he was acting a little slow and we ignored it the first day or two.

By the third day we checked him over and found a small cluster of dog ticks and took him to the vet. He was dead in two days but the vet said he tested negative for BC disease.

If it was not that, then he may have succumbed to the actual flea treatment. Since we knew he was sensitive our vet suggested a half/dose followed by another half about a week later.

That seemed to be working, but.... his immune system may have been compromised by his upbringing. Cooper was separated from his mother early (not our decision) and we had to raise him on cows milk.

That made especially close to us but may not have given his system the adequate "conditioning" from his mother. Just guessing since we were never able to get a definite answer.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Sep 23, 2012, at 7:38 AM


When my little one contracted bob cat fever it was several days before the illness actually showed. She is basically and indoor cat that thinks she wants to go out once in a while. I am guessing it was at least a 5-6 day incubation period because thats how long it had been since she had been out, and I never found a tick on her. I had just lost one to Kidney disease and the vet was not holding out much hope for her. Lucky for her she has a big stubborn streak and was teed off at me for taking her to the vet and had to prove she was going to get better. It's never easy to loose one of our furry kids is it.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Sun, Sep 23, 2012, at 7:52 AM


FYI - if you have to raise another kitten - use KMR (kitten milk replacer) - usually found at Wal-Mart, but all vets have it. Just a tip.

-- Posted by wildwoman on Sun, Sep 23, 2012, at 4:27 PM

Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

Vicky Carder is a Shelbyville native. In 1991 she founded Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Nashville. There she served as Executive Director for more than 12 years. The Center is the largest wildlife hospital in Middle Tennessee. She has published in wildlife national and international journals. Now she wants to share her knowledge of native wildlife and some of the experiences she had while working with wildlife.
Hot topics
Cedar Waxwings
(9 ~ 12:52 PM, Jun 25)

Bats in My Belfry
(9 ~ 2:13 PM, Sep 18)

Hummer Update
(17 ~ 9:36 AM, Sep 11)

Woody the Woodpecker
(9 ~ 6:13 PM, May 28)

Ladybug Luck
(4 ~ 12:45 PM, Jan 23)