RaccoonSick raccoons are nothing new in northern California, where distemper is fairly common among them. But some don't fit that pattern for raccoon deaths, and new laboratory studies have found out why.

racoon2W-728x1024Dr. Patricia Pesavento, left, and co-researcher Florante Dela Cruz look at gels of the raccoon polyomavirus at UC Davis. UC Davis/Photo used with permissionSometimes, researchers have an idea of what they will find when they begin their investigations. This was not such a case, says Dr. Patricia Pesavento, a pathologist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. In fact, their findings surprised everyone involved.

raccoon tumorsIn these cross-sectional views, the brain of a healthy raccoon (top) is contrasted with the tumor that has filled the olifactory canal and grown into the midbrain of the animal below. Images used with permission. Now that the pathology for the brain tumors has been identified, Melanie Piazza at WildCare in San Rafael says they can incorporate that knowledge in their treatment of any ailing raccoons they receive.





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