Two Lincoln raccoons test positive for canine distemper, city officials say

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Two raccoons in Lincoln tested positive Monday for canine distemper, a serious disease that can be fatal to dogs, city officials say.

Officials are now asking residents to take steps to prevent the disease from spreading to dogs and other animals.

“Raccoons are one kind of wild animal that can get canine distemper and they occasionally come into contact with people’s pets,” said Steve Beal, Lincoln Animal Control manager, in a press release. “Seeing this disease in local raccoons signals an increased risk for dogs in the area.”

Beal said one raccoon was found near Southwest 36th and West A Streets, and the other one was brought in by Wildlife Rescue.

The canine distemper virus has not been shown to cause illness in people, said J. Dustin Loy, a veterinarian and Board of Health member.

“Canine distemper is caused by a virus that’s spread from an infected dog or wild animal through close contact and sneezing, coughing or barking. The virus can also spread to dogs and wild animals through shared food and water bowls and other items,” Loy said in the release. “It’s extremely important that pet dogs are current on their distemper vaccinations. The vaccine is the best way to prevent the disease in dogs and it is recommended for all dogs.”

Symptoms in dogs include fever, watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea.

Puppies who have yet to be vaccinated against canine distemper are at a higher risk, according to the press release.

Officials ask residents should take the following steps to prevent canine distemper:

  • Ensure dogs are current on distemper vaccinations
  • Avoid contact with sick animals and wildlife
  • Choose establishments and training programs that require current vaccinations, health examinations, good hygiene and isolation of sick puppies and dogs
  • Keep dogs away from other dogs when sick

More information on canine distemper can be found HERE.

Categories: Lancaster, News