Rabies & Distemper

Raccoon rabies first appeared in Massachusetts in 1992 and skunks are susceptible to this disease. Rabies is a neurological disorder that can cause skunks to act lethargic, move in an uncoordinated manner, or exhibit unprovoked aggressive behavior. Rabies can infect most mammals including humans and common domestic pets. 

If there is any direct contact between a skunk and a person or a pet, contact the Department of Public Health or your town Board of Health for guidance. More information on rabies.

Canine distemper virus, can cause symptoms very similar to rabies. Canine distemper virus is not transmissible to humans and most domestic dogs are vaccinated against this virus, however, any skunk that comes into direct contact with humans or domestic animals should be treated as a potentially rabid animal.

Remember that seeing a skunk during daytime hours is not an indicator of a diseased animal.