Dogs are naturally playful creatures.
They move around with their owners, bite their way through their favorite toys, and play fight with other dogs.
However, when your dog does not choose the type of animals to play with and may have ended up attacking a possum, there are instances.
The question now remains – what shall you do in this scenario, and is your dog’s health in danger?
Possums are wild animals, and it is normal for people to think that they have rabies because they are not domesticated. However, your dog does not have this connotation, and for them, possums are cute little animals that they want to play with. But be wary because possums can still spread rabies to dogs.
You should know that even though a possum’s first action is to play dead whenever they are frightened, there is also a tendency for a possum to attack your dog, especially if cornered.
Since possums are small, the only defense they can do is to bite and claw at predators.
Should You Be Worried About Rabies from A Possum?
We have been wary of the dangers of getting bitten by a wild animal because of its risk.
So, if you are concerned about whether your dog can contract rabies from a possum’s bite, the answer depends on whether your dog has an anti-rabies vaccine or not.
If your dog has been vaccinated against rabies, then your dog is protected and has a low to zero chance of contracting the disease.
If this does not give you peace of mind, take it from the Humane Society of the United States and the Missouri and Illinois Bi-State Wildlife Hotline.
According to them, possums are highly resistant to rabies.
Which means that carrying the disease is remote to none.
It means that your healthy and vaccinated dog has a very low to no chance of contracting rabies from a possum’s bite.
Can Your Dog Catch Diseases from Possums?
Just like any wild creature, possums may have some diseases that can transmit to other animals.
Although it rarely happens for a dog, it is possible to catch diseases from possums.
The probability of this happening is still there.
Some illnesses that possums can transmit to your dog include Chagas disease, tuberculosis, coccidiosis, leptospirosis, and trichomoniasis.
Wild animals like possums may also carry fleas, and in turn, this can transmit a disease called Murine Typhus to your dog.
The possum’s urine and droppings may also carry a disease that your dog might contract if it gets into an open wound.
However, do not worry about it too much if your dog is up to date with its vaccines.
But to be sure, it would always be best to go to your vet whenever an unexpected event like this occurs.
The Risk of Infection
Instead of going crazy over worrying about your dog contracting rabies from a possum’s bite, you should be looking at the chance of your dog having an infection instead.
This infection may result from an uncleaned and untreated bite wound that carries many germs, bacteria, and dirt with it.
If this bite is left untreated, your dog’s wound might become infected.
And this might result in complications like vomiting, fever, and diarrhea.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Attacked A Possum?
If your dog attacked a possum, here are some of the things you should do:
1. Get away from the possum
Although the possibility of the possum attacking again is very slim as it would already have run out the first moment it gets, it would still be best for you and your dog to get away from the possum to avoid any further injuries.
2. Check your dog for wounds
It may be a scratch or a bite mark.
Ensure your dog’s fur and skin and look for possible wounds sustained from the attack.
3. If your dog has been scratched or bitten, go to the vet immediately
Do not rely on the internet for “homemade remedies to possum bites” or prescribe medications for your dog on your own.
Remember that there are adverse health effects if your dog has been injured.
The best way to ensure that they are safe from any diseases or infections is by bringing them to the vet immediately.
If your vet prescribes a medication, cream, or anti-biotic for your dog, make sure to buy them and give them to your dog as instructed.
4. If your dog were not scratched or bitten, it would be best to still pay a trip to your vet
Remember that possums are relatively small compared to your dog.
And you might have missed a claw or a bite mark on the part of your dog’s body.
Visiting the vet would give you peace of mind and the assurance that your dog’s health and safety are not compromised.
On a final note, possums are handy when you have a garden or yard.
Because they eat unwanted pests like slugs, rodents, and other insects.
However, it might be a concern if your dog attacks a possum and gets wounded in return.
When you see a possum in your yard or garden, do not harm it because that is its natural habitat.
Instead, keep a close eye on your dog, especially during walks.
If your dog attacks a possum, you need not be alarmed, especially if your dog is up to date with its vaccines.
But to be a hundred percent sure, it is best to bring your dog to the vet for a check-up if this event happens.
It would be best if you considered your pet’s safety seriously. Be a responsible pet owner!