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  • Dayton Educational Article of the Month - A List of Symptoms of a Sick Groundhog / Woodchuck

A List of Symptoms of a Sick Groundhog / Woodchuck

There aren't many documented diseases that are endemic to Dayton groundhogs however, there are still diseases that still pass on to them from other mammals. This article will breakdown the symptoms of three most documented diseases found in groundhogs.

Rabies is a highly infectious disease that is common among Ohio mammals. There isn't a high rate of rabies cases in rodents, however, groundhogs are more susceptible to it than other rodents such as mice and rats.

Symptoms of rabies are:
• Anxiety
• Aggression
• Confusion
• Excessive salivating
• Fever
• Hallucination
• Insomnia
• Inflammation (in the area of the bite)
• Muscle weakness
• Paralysis
• Phobia to water
• Tingling sensation

Rabies can transfer from it's Dayton groundhog host to another mammal like your pets or yourself in two ways:
• Flea bites
• Direct contact with fluids
If you do encounter an Ohio groundhog (or any other mammals for that matter) who has any of these symptoms, it is best not to go near it and contact the proper authorities to handle the situation for you.

Tularemia is a rare but highly infectious disease and will often cause severe damage to one's skin, eyes, lungs, and lymph nodes. The most common type of tularemia (uleroglandular tularemia) have the following symptoms:
• Chills
• Fever
• Exhaustion or lethargy
• Headaches
• Skin ulcers
• Swollen and often painful lymph glands

If you were to contract tularemia from an already infected mammal such as a Dayton groundhog, it would be in two ways:
• Insect bites
• Direct contact
So in order to minimize the risk of you contracting the disease is by never handling an infected mammal and if you were in a situation where you have to do so, wear protective gloves and footwear when doing so. It is also adviced to thoroughly adviced to wash your hands after you handle the animal.

Sylvatic Plague
The sylvatic plague (where we get our bubonic plague) is often found and spread by wild rodents such as our good friend the Ohio groundhog. However, the main carrier of the plague are actually prairie dogs.

Symptoms of the plague are:
• Fever
• Chills
• Weakness
• Swollen lymph nodes

The main ways for another mammal to contract the disease is through two ways:
• Direct contact
• Insect bites
Therefore, it is best not to handle any contaminated animal for your own safety. If you have no other choice but to do so, where protective gloves and footwear to minimize contact with said Dayton animal. Also, wash your hands thoroughly after handling.

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