CHICAGO (CBS) — A spike in the highly contagious, and potentially deadly, distemper virus has authorities in South Bend warning people to get their pets vaccinated, CBS South Bend reports.
Over the past three months, about 60 raccoons showing symptoms of distemper have been euthanized by South Bend Animal Care and Control officers. Director Jennifer Gobel says it’s an alarming number.
“It’s very much out of the ordinary. We’ve had days where we’ve brought back 10 raccoons in one day,” Gobel said. “It keeps us busy — obviously it’s a public safety concern to have a diseased wild animal on people’s properties.”
Gobel says it’s unclear why they’re seeing the increase in the virus, which is easily spread to pets, adding that people need to have their pets vaccinated.
“Most people think, oh my dog’s rabies vaccinated, because that’s required by law. But sometimes they forget about the parvovirus or the distemper vaccine.”
Distemper can be spread through direct contact from an infected animal and airborne exposure — it can be fatal. Symbols include: fever, coughing and nasal discharge.