Sicknesses And Diseases Squirrels Can Get

sicknesses-and-diseases-squirrels-can-getSquirrels are rather ubiquitous creates in parks and woods. Like all animals, squirrels are vulnerable to disease. Viral and bacterial pathogens in their habitat can induce disease, sometimes fatally. Squirrels in captivity may enjoy the benefit of veterinary care, but those in the wild are left to fend for themselves.

Metabolic Bone Disease

Squirrels that develop metabolic bone disease are suffering from a poor diet, especially a deficiency of Vitamin D or a lack of light. MBD is common in captive squirrels that aren’t receiving sufficient natural light. It can be offset by providing the animals with at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight per day or, if that’s not feasible, using full-spectrum light bulbs. Symptoms include lethargy and pain.

Squirrel Pox

Squirrel pox, also known as squirrel fibroma, causes the growth of tumors on the squirrel’s epidermis. It’s transmitted virally, usually by mosquitoes or from squirrel to squirrel. Young squirrels are most vulnerable. The tumors may metastasize into more serious tumors affecting the internal organs. There is no known cure for squirrel pox.


Squirrels are susceptible to a number of parasite-borne illnesses. These include baylisascaris (a type of roundworm), hookworms (which can cause anemia), coccidiosis (a parasitic illness that affects the small and large intestine and causes internal bleeding) and giardia (another intestinal parasite usually transferred by contaminated feces).


Encephalomyocarditis is another viral illness. It causes inflammation and degeneration of skeletal and heart tissue and destroys the squirrel’s nervous system. The disease is usually spread by contact with infected rodents or by secondary bacterial transmission. Symptoms include elevated heart rate, respiratory problems, blisters, physical pain and a lack of motor function. Infected squirrels are treated with antibiotics in the case of secondary bacterial infection.


Squirrels rarely get rabies and have not been known to cause rabies among humans in the United States. Squirrels may suffer from the fatal roundworm brain parasite, which causes signs that look exactly like rabies.


  1. We has one squirrel around our house with squirrel pox so bad he became blind. I had the humane society here and they said to try and get him and they would put him down. He never came back so he must have died on his own. Now we have another one with it. One of his ears is totally gone and he has the lumps all over him. It’s such a sad thing to see.

  2. I have a baby squirrel that has a boil on its back. How do I treat it

  3. Dani DP Stockwell

    2-3 week old squirrel, mom deceased.
    Drinking milk supplement for squirrels ordered online and doing well,
    Monday, 4-5 weeks old started eating food – mealworms, nuts, berries,
    Wednesday started weaning, cutting down from 5 times a day to 3.
    Friday ate two pieces of popcorn.
    Now Saturday and he is pooping blood.
    We would love to have ideas on how to help him.

  4. What medications can be given for this disease

  5. A blogger talked about trying various things with a litter of squirrels with pox and drying the fibromas up prevented them from spreading throughout the squirrel and several wound up surviving. I don’t recall the method she used, you’ll need to search for it, but it was some kind of powder – maybe cornstarch, talcum powder, something like that.

  6. There are at least three squirrels with what I think is squirrel pox. Should I dump my bird baths because they frequent it? Can it be spread to other species?

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