Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Possible canine distemper outbreak in Mt. Angel
The Mt. Angel Police Department has recently received numerous complaints about sick raccoons in the area. Canine distemper is highly contagious. It is a viral disease affecting raccoons, coyotes, skunks and un-vaccinated dogs. Distemper symptoms include nose and eye discharge, rough coat of hair, emaciated appearance and unusual behavior which can include disorientation and aimless wandering.
So far 6 raccoons have been disposed of, one of the animals died before the police had arrived. After the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was contacted it seems that distemper is the likely cause of the illness inflicting raccoons in this area. While some believe that rabies could be the cause, especially since they have some similar symptoms, there are some main differences. The main difference is that rabies is able to be transmitted to humans whereas canine distemper cannot.
The main advice that seems to be spreading around is to not feed their pets outside since unvaccinated dogs can catch the viral disease if infected raccoons use their food or water dishes. It is also highly encourage to not feed or approach raccoons since their behavior can be potentially dangerous.