When a Pennsylvania skunk becomes sick, it can refuse to eat even its favourite foods, stay at a single place for a longer duration and prefer to stay warm. It may also have a high fever. An ill skunk may have characteristics such as wounded limbs, missing fur, shaking and loss of balance. It may show abnormal behaviour such as appearing to be blind to the people who are about 1-2 feet away from them.
External or internal parasites can affect the skunk, so one has to look out for such parasites. There can be minor or bigger cuts which should not be ignored as the minor wound can also infect them. So, they need to be taken to a vet.
A skunk usually excretes loose faeces but if it has a gastric condition or infected by some kind of parasites, then it can suffer from loose bowels. In such diarrhoea condition, the skunk feels tired and dehydrated, showing signs of less carefulness about its place of defecation because they generally return to a latrine for this. When the Philadelphia skunk has parasites on their skin surface, there can be visible issues such as rashes and grazes that can leave marks even while scratching through their thick furs. Philadelphia skunks usually never leave a chance of eating whenever an easy and good source is available to them, but if they are seen to bypass this, then it is an indication of their illness.
These rodents move with grace. So, if they are found shivering heavily then it is a symptom arising from malnutrition, low blood sugar or more serious bone and nervous system diseases.
An unwell skunk has the flu like condition and inflammation on the skin. The case is usually of lime disease which is caused when insects suck blood from them.
When there are dental problems of the skunk, they have the coloration of the gums and face difficulty while chewing food, breath has a peculiar smell, has a general body odor, teeth are broken and there are cracks in the enamel.
In case the skunk has a lot of matting on its fur, in patches or in bald spots, it is a sign of illness. Similarly, gew around the eyes also indicates the same.
When the rabid skunks bite other animals, they carry rabies, but not because of their waste, sprays or urine. There are usually 2 types of rabies in the skunks, i.e furious rabies or dumb rabies. When foaming occurs in the mouth, it is the aggressive form of rabies, termed as furious rabies which can lead to the spread of diseases when it starts biting. In case of dumb rabies, the skunk appears to be disoriented and displays odd behavior.
A rabid skunk is not safe to be around. It needs immediate attention as it can cause injury. One should call a wildlife rehabilitator on finding an injured skunk instead of calling pest controller a trapper service as they will kill the skunk. A local animal control department or humane society can handle such cases in a safer way by using painless options.
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