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Raccoons Transmitting Canine Distemper In Minnesota

Cases of canine distemper are on the rise in Minnesota as well as several other states.

Canine distemper can mimic symptoms of rabies and the public is advised to use caution.  Using precautions with pets can help prevent additional cases of the disease being transmitted.  Canine distemper is caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.  The virus can also be found in other wildlife as well.   Being vigilant in the outdoors is always a good idea especially if your pets are with you.  You never know how a wild animal may act, especially if the animal is sick.

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“Reports are on the rise of a disease in raccoons that can infect domestic dogs. Taking precautions can minimize chances of the disease spreading to pets.”

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“The disease, called canine distemper, can be spread through the air or by direct contact with urine, feces, blood or saliva.”

“Pet owners should ensure dogs are current on vaccines. Pets should be kept away from sick or dead wildlife. Anyone unsure if their dogs are current on canine distemper vaccine should talk with their veterinarian about the vaccination status of their pets.”

“People should stay away from sick raccoons and dead wildlife should be left alone. If disposal is necessary, the animal can be buried where it is found or picked up with a plastic garbage bag using gloves and placed in the garbage. Some municipalities may have an animal control officer who can assist. The DNR and the MDH do not provide animal removal services.”

“Pet owners should ensure dogs are current on vaccines. Pets should be kept away from sick or dead wildlife. Anyone unsure if their dogs are current on canine distemper vaccine should talk with their veterinarian about the vaccination status of their pets.”

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