North Oregon Coast Raccoons May Carry Distemper
(Seaside, Oregon) - There could be some issues for some pet owners on the north Oregon coast as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is investigating a probable outbreak of canine distemper affecting raccoons along this shoreline from Seaside to Astoria.
Sick and injured raccoons have been showing up the last two weeks with signs of canine distemper, which could pose a serious risk to pets of those living on the coast or visiting.
Canine distemper is extremely contagious, said the ODFW. It is a viral disease infects raccoons, coyotes, skunks and unvaccinated dogs – but it does not affect humans.
Symptoms include a rough coat of hair, emaciated appearance, discharge from the nose and eyes, along with unusual behavior such as disorientation or wandering aimlessly. These get progressively worse and the disease usually ends in death for the infected animal.
Dave Nuzum, assistant wildlife biologist with ODFW’s Tillamook office, said there are particular dangers if a pet becomes infected, especially for those with children.
“Animals affected by canine distemper can be unpredictable and therefore potentially dangerous,” he said.
During the last two weeks, police and commercial wildlife control operators have disposed of about 10 raccoons that exhibited such symptoms.
“We definitely have an outbreak going on here,” said Dan Smith, owner of Clatsop County Wildlife Control, a commercial wildlife control operator. “This is getting to be a daily thing.”
If you see a raccoon that is acting unusual, you are advised to keep a good distance from it and call authorities immediately, including the police, a commercial wildlife control operator or ODFW.
It is advised to not feed such animals or try to administer any medications. Pet owners should make sure their dogs are vaccinated for distemper and remove any food sources that might attract raccoons.
The ODFW said feeding raccoons is a very bad idea as it can concentrate animals and facilitate the spread of disease.
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