Baby prarie dogs have become increasingly common in the last year or two in pet stores as the latest exotic pet. Though some are raised in captivity, many are still removed from the wild to meet the demand and also to help turn PD-ridden fields into profit.
The Center for Disease Control is concerned that an outbreak of the rare but potentially fatal if untreated tularemia, or 'rabbit fever' could be spread through the animals after the deaths of wild caught animals at a Texas facility were traced to tularemia.
Prarie dogs from that distributor have been sent across the United States and overseas, so the CDC cautions anyone handling sick or dead prarie dogs in the last few weeks contact their local health department to determine if treatment is nessisary. Tularemia is very rare in the US and is usually caught by people handling wild rabbits. It is not trasmitted from humans to humans.