Will attack possums dogs
Opposes climb well, but they are mostly land animals.
Opposes are interesting ambassadors of the night, often attracting the attention of domestic dogs. While domestic dogs pose a much greater threat to possums than the other way around, possums can potentially transmit disease to your beloved pooch. Opossums can transmit a wide variety of bacterial and protozoal diseases to your dog, but they typically do not carry or transmit the dreaded rabies virus.
Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) are the only marsupials found in North America and are only distantly related to the other North American mammals. Like most marsupials, possums carry their young in a protective pouch until they are old enough to fend for themselves. Nocturnal omnivores, possums, are extremely adaptable animals that feed on insects, fruits, berries, plants, trash, and carrion - basically they eat anything that is currently available. Although forests, swamps, and riparian areas are their ancestral habitat, opossums adapt well to disturbed or suburban environments. Generally speaking, they are shy creatures that are unlikely to attack a dog. In fact, possums display behavior that will fake death when attacked by predators.
Remarkably rabies resistant
Although it's very rare, possums don't usually carry the rabies virus. This is in stark contrast to many similar sized animals that have carnivorous or omnivorous foods, such as skunks, foxes, and raccoons, which are important reservoirs of rabies. While no one knows exactly how possums avoid the virus, some scientists suggest that it could be due to their relatively low body temperature. However, opossums have very different blood chemistry and react differently than many other mammals when exposed to toxic substances. For example, snake venoms have little to no effect on possums.
Leptospirosis is one of the most important communicable pathogens affecting possums. Due to bacteria of the genus Leptospira, the disease can affect not only domestic dogs but also humans and many other animals. Your dog can develop leptosiprosis from ingesting contaminated food or water. Opossums can harbor some of the same species of fleas that affect domestic dogs and cats. Some of these fleas can carry the bacteria responsible for typhus and can therefore pass it on to your dog. Opossums often carry the typhus bacteria themselves, but usually don't show any symptoms. Opossums can also transmit tularemia and tuberculosis.
Parasites and protozoa
Opossums can carry internal parasites like the nematode, which is responsible for trichinosis, but your dog would likely have to eat the opossum to ingest infectious cysts. Scientists are gradually collecting evidence that possums can harbor and transmit protozoal myeloenchephalitis (EPM) in horses. EPM doesn't usually affect dogs, but a report by A.J. Cooley et al., Published in Veterinary Pathology, documented the first case of canine infection. Opossums can also have toxoplasmosis, Lyme disease, coccidiosis, trichomoniasis, and Chagas disease, which they can spread to your dog through contact or, in some cases, through ingestion of contaminated food.
While preventing possums from traveling around your yard can be difficult, there are many strategies that can help keep them from frequenting your land. Avoid feeding dogs outdoors whenever possible. If you have to do this, remove any uneaten food immediately and keep the stored food tightly closed. Opossums avoid traversing open spaces whenever possible. So try to remove any forms of cover that it may be using. Understand that opossum urine, feces, and saliva can contain pathogens. It is therefore advisable to advise against their presence.
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