210 Pinebush Rd., at the corner of Pinebush & Franklin.

Sick racoons a threat to local dogs!

November 7th, 2015 Posted in Uncategorized

We had a client in yesterday who told us his neighbor had a sick raccoon in their yard. I have seen several raccoons with similar symptoms on my bike rides, and John and I saw one on Black Bridge Road a couple months ago. All of these raccoons were acting unafraid of us, and had really crusted eyes and a sickly appearance.

I am always worried about unvaccinated dogs when I see this, since dogs can get Dstemper and since it is very contagious!

Canine Distemper (CDV) is a virus that commonly infects raccoons. Distemper cases in raccoons tend to spike in the fall. This is the same virus that dogs can contract.

Raccoons with distemper may approach people, or curl up to sleep in open areas in close proximity to people. They generally act disoriented or lethargic, but can become aggressive if cornered. They may have seizures.

Canine Distemper does not pose a threat to humans. Dogs who have not been vaccinated for distemper can become infected if they come in contact with a raccoon with distemper.

If you notice a raccoon displaying abnormal behaviour, call Animal Control to come pick them up. Please do not to approach or feed the raccoons.

What is Canine Distemper?

Canine Distemper is a viral disease affecting animals in the canine families in addition to some other mammals. It affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Raccoons are pre-disposed to this disease as are dogs. It also commonly infects skunks. The disease is most often fatal and those that recover may display permanent neurological damage.

Can humans catch Canine Distemper?

No. People cannot get Canine Distemper.

Can my dog catch Canine Distemper?

Yes. If your dog has not been vaccinated against distemper, and comes in contact with a raccoon with distemper. Most dogs are vaccinated as pups against distemper, with doses at 8,12 and 16 weeks of age, and regular booster shots after that. If you are not sure, check with your veterinarian.

Puppies who have not yet been fully vaccinated are at particularly high risk. To keep your pet safe, it is best to keep your dog on a leash when on walks and scan your backyard before letting your dog out.

What are the symptoms of a raccoon with distemper?

Raccoons with distemper may move slowly and may stumble as they walk. They lose their fear of humans, appear blind and confused and may wander aimlessly and may become aggressive if cornered.

A mucoid discharge will often be present around the eyes and nose and may be accompanied by coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, seizures or chewing fits. They may only exhibit some of these symptoms and otherwise appear quite healthy.

What should I do if I see a raccoon that I think has distemper?

Do not approach them. Do not feed them. Please let Animal Control look after it.

Can anything be done to help the raccoons?

Once a raccoon is infected, there is little to no chance of survival for the animal. It can take several weeks for the disease to run its course in the raccoon. Young raccoons are most susceptible to this virus.

The best way to help an infected animal is to contact the City of Cambridge Animal Contro, who will ensure the animal is humanely taken care of and does not continue to suffer or spread the infection.

Should I feed the raccoons?

No. Do not feed raccoons or leave food out for them. Any food that is left out may only attract other wildlife, or attract sick raccoons to areas your pet visits.

How else can I help?

To discourage raccoons or any wildlife from coming onto your property:

Do not leave any food out. At this time, it would also be advised to take down any bird feeders, or regularly clean up the area around the bird feeder so you do not attract raccoons

Ensure all garbage, recycling and GreenCarts are secure and left out on the morning of your regular pick up

Keep your pet on a leash when on a walk and scan your yard before letting them outside.

Explain to your children why they should not approach raccoons or any wildlife even if they seem docile

Check with your vet to ensure your dog has been vaccinated against distemper and other infectious diseases.

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