During the past year, the Veterinary Public Health &
Rabies Control Program has been investigating a large
outbreak of Distemper in local raccoons. So far 137
suspected cases have been reported, with 9 cases being
confirmed by necropsy. Clusters of cases have been
identified in several areas of the county (see maps
below). During this outbreak, the disease has also
spread to other species, with cases reported in 41 dogs,
5 coyotes, 3 foxes (1 fox confirmed by necropsy)
and 6 skunks. Since the disease continues to spread
around the county, it is important to alert dog owners
about the distemper risk and encourage them to keep
their dog’s distemper vaccinations up to date.
Distemper is a contagious virus that can infect dogs,
raccoons, skunks, foxes, ferrets, lions and tigers. The
virus infects the whole body and suppresses the immune
system. Animals infected with Distemper can spread the
virus through direct contact with other animals or by
contaminating the environment with infectious
discharges. Infected animals become very sick, and
develop nasal and ocular discharges, fever, vomiting,
diarrhea, neurologic symptoms, and may die.
- Vaccination. Dog owners should make sure
their pet’s Distemper vaccination is up-to-date.
- NEVER FEED WILDLIFE. Do not encourage wildlife
to come into your yard. Do
not leave pet food or water outside. Keep trash in sealed containers.
- Education. Please educate others about
Distemper sharing this
alert and this
- Report Cases. Veterinarians should report
any suspected cases of Distemper to our program by
completing and faxing in
this case report form. Animal control agencies
should also report any suspected cases of distemper
in both dogs and wildlife.
We may ask that selected animals be submitted for
testing to confirm diagnosis.
Distemper Alert (pdf)
Distemper Alert Poster (pdf)