Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Skunks, dogs, rabies and a stinky, eventful afternoon

Posted Friday, April 8, 2011, at 10:42 PM
View 13 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • I had to dispose of what I thought was a rabid coon a few months ago too. A few days later, I was talking to a vet who I found out worked with wildlife resources in southern Kentucky & she told me that in this area skunks are more likely to be rabid but coons are more likely to have distemper. The visual symptoms; salivation, drunken & disoriented behavior etc... are the same for both diseases. Since rabies is a weak virus & dies within a few days of the host's death, burial 3-4 feet deep in a sealed plastic bag is all that's necessary with a rabid animal. It is my understanding that distemper is a much stronger virus & will go dormant if buried, waiting to be dug up & spread again. A distemper infected animal must be burned to kill the virus. Fortunately, distemper is not normally deadly to humans but it is to pets & farm animals. Hope this helps.

    -- Posted by bjrbrts on Sat, Apr 9, 2011, at 4:27 PM
  • That helped in two ways. One, I did not think about distemper. IS their a vaccination for that?

    Secondly, it reminded me to put a rock on top of the area I buried the skunk. Right now there is a huge tree trunk but it would not stop digging from the side.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Apr 9, 2011, at 5:42 PM
  • If your dogs have had their Annual DHLPP shot-they are protected from distemper. DHLPP is Distemper, Hepatatis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.

    -- Posted by ckna910 on Sat, Apr 9, 2011, at 7:54 PM
  • Aah, I never paid attention to what the DHLPP stood for.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Apr 9, 2011, at 8:06 PM
  • Glad it helped. Most people - myself included - don't think about distemper. I wound up going back & burning the coon.

    -- Posted by bjrbrts on Sun, Apr 10, 2011, at 9:11 PM
  • Today is the day that we should hear something about the skunk. I sure hope it was just out on a harmless "walk-about".

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Apr 11, 2011, at 9:33 AM
  • Well.., it took a little longer but we got the word back, the skunk WAS rabid.

    Now our dogs have a 45 day observation period since they were on shots but the one most at risk is PITA because she has only had two shots in her lifetime. If she had had 3 there probably would not be the same concern but ......

    She is also the one who was throwing the skunk around so she surely was exposed. Now all the threats I threw her way seem tiny, but nothing we can do but wait.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 4:29 PM
  • One way I have found to keep pets from digging up a former pal ( or even to keep rabbits out of green beans/ garden) is to sprinkle red pepper flakes all over the area. I knew a family who had a dog that kept trying to retrieve his pal from down under, and this did the trick real fast. I'm trying it now to keep the cat from making a potty of my flower bed. (hope it works there too lol)

    -- Posted by wonderwhy on Thu, Apr 14, 2011, at 6:54 PM
  • There is a company that has developed a tablet that can be buried next to plants that make the plant. tree or shrub taste like red pepper.

    I will create a separate post so people who are not interested in rabies will see it.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Apr 15, 2011, at 7:22 AM
  • Sorry your dogs are having to go thru that. Mine thinks her shot time is a social event & is current on all of them but I wouldn't want that for her either. Any time a wild animal acts in an unusual manner for its nature, suspect the worst & either get away or take other defensive measures before it has a chance to attack/harm you. Some wild animals actually do become familiar with humans & marginally friendly but unless you have personal knowledge of a specific animal, don't assume those cute furry critters are friendly. You will always come out on the losing end of the encounter. Hope your dogs learned their lesson too.

    -- Posted by bjrbrts on Sat, Apr 16, 2011, at 10:35 PM
  • I too hope they have learned a lesson but they were probably defending the house and apparently this skunk was coming straight to it since it was cornered at the very front of it. Peeuuu!

    A YouTube video criticized a police officer for macing a baby squirrel that kept coming toward a group of school children. Apparently squirrels are not prone to rabies but I am sure he did not want to find out later that it was, so squirt!

    The squirrel survived and was relocated, but even if it was not rabid, rodents can have a nasty bite and can transmit other diseases so you are 100% right, avoid them or take defensive measures.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Apr 17, 2011, at 9:19 AM
  • I saw that video. The "experts" criticizing the officer should try handling a squirrel before commenting; it can be quite painful. More than once I've surrendered my tree stand to a curious squirrel & would rather fight two men than one squirrel, especially in a tree. Btw, healthy wild skunks can be friendly & have a personality similar to a ferret once they warm up to you but I still don't recommend petting them. I like the people who fawn(no pun intended) over deer - one of the most aggressive wild animals I've ever encountered; & my dog agrees. She was guarding my house & the doe took exception. At least I won that fight & the dog leaves them alone now. She did play with a "striped kitty" once too - only once. The smell was so bad I dreamed about it for two days.

    -- Posted by bjrbrts on Sun, Apr 17, 2011, at 7:48 PM
  • So far the dogs are all behaving as normal.

    As most of you who read this blog know, that means something different when it comes to PITA, but I find myself being more tolerant with the fear of her contracting a fatal disease.

    In all fairness, she is also moderating her actions, so if all goes well, she should prove to be a good member of our family.

    Boy, I am getting soft!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Apr 20, 2011, at 1:41 PM
Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration: