prairie dog eating grass

While some find prairie dogs cute enough to keep as pets, this is not a wise choice. People must remember that these wild rodents may carry prairie dog diseases. Among the most common are:

  • Plague
  • Tularemia

Prairie Dogs and Plague

Plague is probably the most significant disease that these pests carry. The pathogen spreads easily in damp, cold seasons. A prairie dog bite is painful, but surprisingly not the primary form of disease transmission.

The bite of a plague-infected flea is more likely, as these parasites travel on the rodents and discreetly infect humans and pets.

Any contact with the tissue or fluids of an animal stricken with plague is dangerous. This means accidentally touching prairie dog poop, urine, saliva, or fur is unsafe. Plague is treatable but can become deadly if not promptly addressed.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Weakness

Tick-Borne Tularemia

While tularemia is also transmitted by skin contact or prairie dog bites, it is ticks that typically spread the disease from animals to humans. Drinking water with trace amounts of prairie dog poop is another form of transmission.

Tularemia produces flu-like symptoms, including:

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Soreness

It can be cured with antibiotics if caught soon enough, though the disease may be life-threatening if untreated.

Proper Prevention

Because of the threat posed by prairie dog diseases, residents should avoid contact with the animals and keep the pests away from their property. The professionals at Trutech have all the required knowledge to effectively remove prairie dogs and keep them from returning.