County warns of raccoons with possible distemper

King County has issued a warning to pet owners in response to a suspected outbreak of canine distemper in raccoons.

Photo taken in Ballard on Sunday from the deck of Nic Launceford’s apartment on NW 59th. More photos can be found here.

“King County residents are reminded to avoid feeding wildlife, keep domestic pets away from wild animals, and be sure their pets’ vaccinations are current,” a release sent by the county, PAWS and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife states. Samples from a raccoon in Bellevue have been sent to Washington State University for testing.

Although humans and cats cannot get canine distemper, it is highly contagious among dogs and other animals. “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 & KingCounty. The release goes on to say, “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.”

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

3 thoughts to “County warns of raccoons with possible distemper”

  1. That sounds like symptoms of rabies too. How are the two diseases different, I wonder?

    I had a kitten who had distemper when I was a kid and I don't recall what the symptoms were like but she barely survived. It is a nasty disease not to be taken lightly.

  2. The major difference is Rabies is fatal if not treated immediately, humans included, and any mammal can contract Rabies. That is the one to be afraid of.

    Humans don't get distemper. Cats get feline distemper, dogs get canine distemper. Coons and other wildlife can contract either form of distemper. Distemper can be fatal but isn't always. You can only treat the symptoms as there is no cure.

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