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There are a number of reasons why coyotes are considered to be dangerous to pets and farm animals. One of the biggest concerns, of course, is that of attacks. Chicken coops frequently come under attack from various wild animals, and the coyote is no exception. They’re scavengers, and opportunistic ones at that. They won’t turn down the chance for a tasty treat, no matter how much mesh wiring is in front of them. That’s why you’ll need more than one layer of defense when you’re trying to protect your animals and your land from these wild beasts.
As well as physical attacks, animals — livestock and pets — are also in danger when they come into contact with a coyote because of the many diseases they can carry and pass on. Rabies will obviously be one of the biggest concerns. Any interaction with a wild animal that results in a bite, scratch, or wound of some sort, regardless of small and insignificant it might seem, should immediately be reported to a medical professional. Using rabies as just one example, it is a disease that can both spread quickly and lie dormant for many weeks or months, meaning that even a healthy-looking coyotes (or other wild animal) can be infected without anyone knowing, itself included. Even though the animal may not display any physical symptoms of the disease, there’s a good chance it could be infected anyway and, therefore, pass the disease along. If your pets have been vaccinated against the rabies virus, they are protected, but could still end up with a nasty wound. If your animals have not been vaccinated, on the other hand, the outcome is almost definitely going to be fatal.
Humans being bitten by rabies-infected animals are even more so at risk. Again, if the animal isn’t showing any sign of the rabies virus, there’s a good chance that any minor wounds will be ignored. A few days or weeks later, flu-like symptoms start to show, but you won’t immediately but this down to your animal encounter. You wouldn’t expect a disease like rabies to come with early symptoms that mimic a cold or the flu, but that’s exactly what happens. You put off seeing a doctor for a few days, because you think your cold or flu will pass, and not long after that, you’ll be in hospital in need of no doubt urgent care.
With rabies, treatment must be administered BEFORE symptoms show. If symptoms do start to show, it’s already too late. One interaction — one tiny scratch or bite — could be all it takes to signal the end.
It sounds very dramatic and, if we’re being honest about this, it really could be that dramatic. Coyotes, raccoons, rats, etc., all carry a vast quantity of potentially deadly diseases along with them, and rabies, although one of the biggest concerns, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Tularemia is another disease you might encounter with nuisance coyotes, and that’s not the only wild animal transmitter of the bacteria either. The disease Tularemia is actually caused by a bacteria that goes by the name of ‘Francisella tularensis’ and is commonly found in rodents, muskrats, prairie dogs, hares, and rabbits, alongside coyotes. It is commonly referred to as "rabbit fever" but even hamsters have been reported to carry the bacteria. There has also been at least one case of a hamster biting a child and the child going on to develop Tularemia. Cats are familiar culprits also, and are one of the ways that the bacteria and disease manage to get inside the home. They easily pick these bugs up when they are out and about exploring and bring them back into the house. In fact, cats are quite prone to picking up the bacterial infection, one that is passed along by way of infected soil, contaminated water, and even by ingesting infected animal biological matter. In a cat’s case, this could be eating a rat that is carrying the bacteria.
Sadly, these are not the only transmitters of the bacteria and, therefore, the diseases. A number of ticks can bite an infected animal and then bite a human or domesticated pet, and this passes on the bacteria-causing disease. Wood ticks, dog ticks, and deer flies are all common transmitters of the bacteria that causes this disease across the United States.
Moving from a bacterial disease to a viral one, and we have canine distemper. Also referred to as ‘hard pad disease’ sometimes, canine distemper doesn’t just affect dogs, as the name would lead you to believe. It can also affect a few primate species, raccoons, ferrets and skunks, foxes, coyotes, dogs (wild and domesticated), large cats, pandas, wolves and more. In fact, giving it the name ‘canine distemper’ seems a little wrong, don’t you think?
The viral disease is called hard pad disease too, giving you an idea of some of the symptoms that come with it. The pads in the paws often harden up, and the skin on the nose can do the same thing too. The animal can develop complicated with the respiratory system, as well as bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, and this can come with discharge from the eyes, nose and mouth. Breathing can become difficult over time, and the eyes can become rather inflamed, making it difficult for the animal to see. If this were an animal in the wild, the disease would almost certainly cause their death, if not from the viral disease itself, then from attacks from predatory animals. It’s hard to defend yourself when you can’t see what’s coming towards you.
A vaccine is available for dogs, so if your pooch has had it, going out and about in the great, wild world is not going to be too much of a problem. If your dog hasn’t been vaccinated, however, the disease is easily picked up and in over fifty percent of cases where treatment isn’t administered quickly, the outcome is usually death.
As if that wasn’t bad news enough, there are many more coyote diseases to add to the list. Canine hepatitis is another one you should look up if you have had coyotes around your land, and mange too. Oh, and you’re going to want to make sure your house or property is flea, mite and tick-free too. Again, if your pets haven’t been treated, it’s only going to be a matter of time before you find that you have problems.
Coyotes offer great threats to animals, domestic or otherwise, and they are also incredibly dangerous for humans too. If you have experience (or are experiencing) a nuisance coyote problem, we would highly recommend that you seek advice from the professionals. This is not the kind of animal you’re going to want to get up close and personal with.
For more information, you may want to read How to get rid of coyotes
or click on one of these guides that I wrote:How To Guide: Who should I hire?
- What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.How To Guide: do it yourself!
- Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost?
- Analysis of wildlife control prices.