Dr. Cliff received a call about an injured young raccoon in Innisville, ON, Canada. He must have got into an altercation with a porcupine and consequently ended up with painful quills in his face. Of concern when Dr. Cliff arrived was whether the raccoon had Distemper, a virus that can cause neurological, ocular and respiratory problems. It can easily spread to dogs and other animals, with fatal consequences. A brief visual exam led Dr. Cliff to assume the raccoon was not infectious. So, he opted to bring the little guy back to his clinic in Markham, about 90 minutes away, to pull out the quills.
At the clinic, the frightened critter had to be distracted so Dr. Cliff could administer the sedative. He was out in no time which allowed Dr. Cliff to place him on the operating table and pull out almost a dozen quills from his mouth and nose.
After a few days of convalescing at the clinic, he was well enough for a trip to the Toronto Wildlife Centre who would stage him for release back into the wild, or so they all assumed. Unfortunately, the raccoon started showing signs of neurological disease a few days later. TWC euthanized him humanely, and post mortem tests confirmed Distemper.
The Human Effect
Distemper is not a risk to humans. However, it presents a serious threat to Ontario’s raccoon population as well as to dogs and other wildlife. In this video, Dr. Cliff explains how humans are directly to blame for the spread of diseases like Distemper and Rabies, and why the problem will only increase unless we change our ways.
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About Dr. Cliff
Dr. Cliff Redford, DVM, is an experienced veterinarian and owner/operator of the Wellington Veterinary Hospital in Markham, Ontario, Canada. Fondly known as Dr. Cliff to his clients, he has tended to the wellness of pets and animals for over two decades. Hands-on experience in his clinic, combined with animal advocacy and rescue missions locally and across the globe, has allowed him to curate a vast body of knowledge on animal health and welfare, including preventative counselling, soft tissue surgery, advanced dental procedures, internal medicine and emergency care.