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Veterinary Public Health


Veterinary Public Health

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Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 989-7060
Tel: (877) 747-2243
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Distemper Outbreak in Raccoons, 2009-2010


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 poster.
  • 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)



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