Groundhogs are rather healthy rodents and don't often get sick. They will not likely contract rabies and only disease that can often be observed in groundhogs is roundworm, because they tend to eat a lot, so it can happen that they will eat piece of infected meat with roundworm larvae. Even in this case, when groundhog has roundworm, it isn't likely that you or your pet can contract it from him, because roundworm is contracted only through infected meat.
However, there are some cases, although rather rare, that groundhog gets bitten by a rabid animal and contracts rabies. In this not very likely case, when you notice one or more of symptoms, it will be the best to stay away from sick animal and to contact pest control to come and to capture sick groundhog and remove it from your neighborhood. Rabid groundhog has one or more of following symptoms: lack of coordination, aggressiveness, seizures and trembling, foaming around mouth, produces strange, aggressive sounds, tries to eat everything, even inedibles.
Another disease that groundhog can contract is tick--borne relapsing fever and Powassan disease, also contracted through tick. Both of these diseases don't have any apparent symptoms until the final stage of disease, when animal is very close to death.
Groundhogs don't usually come close to people, which is another indicator of healthy/sick animal. Meaning, if groundhog comes close to people or pets, if it even seems aggressive, this could be a real red flag and a reason to stay away from that animal. Confusion, lack of orientation and anxiety is another symptom of a disease, most likely rabies, and another reason to move away from a groundhog and contact pest control to come and take animal away. Please don't try to capture this groundhog yourself, don't try to approach it-the best possible choice is to stay away and contact professionals that will come equipped with materials and traps to capture animal safely.
Groundhogs don't often get sick, but instead lots of them die during the first 12 months of their life.
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