Distemper cases increasing among dogs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Distemper cases increasing among dogs

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Environmental Health officials and veterinarians are warning that wild animals suffering from canine distemper are being seen at an increasing rate, and pet owners should be concerned.

A sick raccoon was picked up by Animal Control and Environmental Health near a home on West Cliff Court Tuesday. Officials thought the raccoon had rabies, but it was actually distemper.

Last week a sick fox was shot by police, also suffering from distemper. Vets say symptoms of the disease mimic rabies, because it's a virus that attacks the central nervous system of animals.

"[It affects] unvaccinated dogs, particularly young dogs that have not been vaccinated," said Vet Charlie Deriso. "Older dogs that have not been vaccinated. So it is very contagious and it can be deadly to the pets."

Environmental health officials say there have been no reports of rabies in Albany so far this year, but vets urge owners to make sure pets are vaccinated.

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