Baby Raccoons and Rabies Shots

A few weeks ago, we drove our in laws’ cabin for dinner, and when we parked, I heard an awful wailing.  We looked around a little bit but couldn’t find anything.

Later, my father-in-law started the grill and heard the same thing, and he was a little more thorough because he found a baby raccoon crying for it’s mother.

In he came, looking for milk and a dropper, and we all ended up gathered around the baby while I coaxed it into drinking from the dropper.  It was struggling, so I added sugar to the milk, and then it was very interested and perked right up.


Is this not the best box to put a raccoon in?!?  Duluth Trading Company shoe box.

Well, it spend the night in the live trap, and the next morning my in-laws did their best to find a rescue for it.

No luck.

So, they let it go and tried to drive it away from the house.  Instead it hid under the porch and the dog got it which was very upsetting for everyone involved.

This isn’t the end of the story though.

My mother, a nurse, absolutely insisted I go and get a rabies shot.

I was not thrilled, but I called the clinic and they told me to go into Urgent Care because they didn’t offer them.  So, very embarrassed, I had to explain that, no, it wasn’t an emergency and what was going on.  The nurse and EMT who worked with me were both very amused (in addition to being nice), and when the doctor finally came in she was wonderful.

She questioned me in detail and decided that it was highly unlikely that I had been exposed.  She said an actual bite was required, not just suckling on fingers that may or may not have been chewed on by me.  She also felt that the baby was too young to have likely been exposed and incubated in it’s short life.  And raccoons are not nearly as likely to be infected as bats or opossums.

She decided that the shot was not necessary.  Or rather shots, over several days – she said it would be very traumatic and very expensive.  She also said that if it had been a bat in my room she absolutely would have vaccinated me, but this was unlikely to have been an exposure.

So, I was very relieved!