We had a strange day today at Poudre River Stables, with a raccoon spending more than an hour sitting on the lane fence headed toward the barn, and at times nearly falling off of the fence. Animal control responded and while slow when left alone, the raccoon perked up enough to scuttle away when the officer tried to catch it. Just then, another client yelled from across the field that “the” raccoon now sat under a fence about 200 feet east, in the opposite direction of the one that got away. In hindsight, we think a second raccoon showed up.
Odd behavior in raccoons can mean disease
With odd raccoon behavior, we worry about disease, usually distemper. I told everybody distemper is the same as “strangles” in horses. Not quite true because my daughter remembered from her 4-H Horse Bowl days that horses cannot catch canine distemper, the kind usually found in sick raccoons. Our veterinarian, Dr. Allen Landes, of Equine Medical Services, confirmed this in a quick text and offered a link for more clarification about whether distemper can be transmitted from raccoons to horses, cats and humans: http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Research/WildlifeHealth/CanineDistemper.pdf#search=raccoons
Bottom line: The second raccoon escaped into the top of a very tall tree. Two very strange raccoons remain at large and we are keeping our dogs contained, even though properly vaccinated. Our property borders the Poudre River bike trail, where hundreds pass by every day, and we hope those on the trail heed the warning signs and have their dogs vaccinated as well.
More of our wildlife photos at our sister site, MyHoofprints.com.