Captured fox may have distemper -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Captured fox may have distemper

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Dr. Steven Whatley at Bush Animal Clinic Dr. Steven Whatley at Bush Animal Clinic

A fox captured Monday morning may have canine distemper, commonly found in dogs, and easily spread. The fox was roaming in the 3600 block of Gillionville Road. Animal Control caught it about 10:30 Monday morning.

The nearby homeowner will get a vaccine to protect against the disease. This area is not far from the Doublegate area where an APD officer was bitten by a fox that could be rabid.     

The fox may appear rabid, but it's not. Distemper displays similar symptoms and is equally deadly.

"It was scared of me and it was foaming at the mouth," said Homeowner Jeannie Robinson, who spotted it and called animal control.  

"Most of the ones that are being tested turned out to be distemper and not rabies. It is transmissible to other animals," said Dr. Steven Whatley at Bush Animal Clinic.  "It used to be prevalent probably 25-30 years ago."  

Whatley says he hasn't seen a case of distemper in domestic pets in several years. But pet owners need to be aware of the dangers after an outbreak of distemper in wild animals.   "It's kind of a wakeup call to know that even though we vaccinate for this illness yearly, the disease is still out there and the pets should be protected," said Whatley.

"I called the vet right away and said what do I do if it's distemper? I was told it spread through saliva," said Robinson.  

Dougherty County Animal Control, DNR, and District Public Health have all reported outbreaks of distemper.   Thankfully, Robinson's dogs were vaccinated.

It's a reminder for you to do the same in case your pet comes in contact with a sick creature like this.  

Distemper is typically fatal, and attacks the immune system of the animal, causing severe complications and symptoms. American dogs are routinely vaccinated against distemper.


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