FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2019
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT Whitney Hanson - Dallas Animal Services Whitney.Hanson@dallascityhall.com
Dallas Animal Services (DAS) has recently seen an increase of distemper cases amongst raccoons within the city of Dallas, particularly within the West Dallas zip codes of 75208 and 75211. Though it cannot be spread to humans or felines, residents should be aware that distemper is easily spread from raccoons to ferrets and dogs through the environment and via airborne exposure. Canine Distemper is a virus with a high mortality rate that affects both the respiratory and nervous systems of dogs, ferrets and raccoons.
Canines that are unvaccinated are most at risk for catching the distemper virus. There is no cure for distemper, but it can be prevented through the distemper/parvovirus. Any veterinarian can administer the distemper vaccinations. Additionally, low-cost vaccinations are available from 10 a.m. to noon at DAS on the first and third Saturdays of the month and are offered daily by our partners at the Texas Coalition for Animal Protection, SPCA of Texas and Spay Neuter Network.
Dog owners should avoid attracting raccoons into their yard by ensuring that trash bags and cans are closed and by removing dog and cat food and water bowls from outside areas. When on walks with dogs, owners should keep an eye out for wildlife and prevent their dogs from using community bowls that could be contaminated.
Raccoons with distemper often exhibit symptoms similar to rabies including lethargy, disorientation, shortness of breath, crusted eyes or nose, vomiting, seizures, neurological symptoms, erratic behavior, lack of fear, and possible aggression. If residents see a raccoon they suspect to be ill, they should quickly bring pets and children indoors, keep a safe distance from the animal, and call 3-1-1 so that animal control can dispatch an officer to the scene.