Raccoon distemper suspected in King County

Friday, April 23, 2010

King County residents are reminded to avoid feeding wildlife, keep domestic pets away from wild animals, and be sure their pets’ vaccinations are current, in response to a suspected outbreak of canine distemper in area raccoons in east King County.

Samples from a raccoon collected in Bellevue have been submitted to Washington State University for disease testing, and final results are expected early next week.

Canine distemper is not transmissible to humans but is highly contagious among dogs, ferrets, and certain wild animals such as raccoons, coyotes, skunks, weasels and harbor seals. Cats are not affected by canine distemper.

Dogs are normally vaccinated against canine distemper, but the disease has become generally uncommon and some pet owners are not getting their pets vaccinated,” said Dr. Sharon Hopkins, the Veterinarian for Public Health – Seattle and King County. “If you have questions or concerns about your pets’ immunity to canine distemper, contact your veterinarian.”

Distemper causes encephalitis, inflation of the brain, in animals. Infected animals may have runny eyes and stagger, tremble, foam at the mouth or snap, according to veterinarians. Daytime activity by a raccoon does not necessarily indicate the animal is sick.

“While we have seen an increase in the number of raccoons this year at our wildlife hospital that appear to be infected with canine distemper, we encourage people not to panic,” said PAWS’ Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. John Huckabee. “The best way to avoid potential exposure to pet dogs and ferrets is to avoid feeding or otherwise attracting wildlife, intentionally or unintentionally.”

Information released from the King County Executive's office
Photo by Harlequeen

0 comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP