The Brighton Police Department is urging residents with domestic pets to get them vaccinated after a raccoon was recently diagnosed with Canine Distemper. Canine Distemper is a highly contagious disease of carnivores caused by a virus that affects animals such as unvaccinated dogs, coyotes, foxes, skunks and raccoons, according to the Department of Wildlife.
In the last 30 days, Brighton Police Department Community Service Officers have received 11 cases which may have involved infected raccoons. In late February, one of the raccoons was sent to Tri-County Health Department to be tested for Rabies but those results came back negative. On Monday, another raccoon was sent to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Health Lab and the positive results of Canine Distemper came back Thursday. At this time, all 11 raccoons have been given a presumptive diagnosis of canine distemper which is now extended for all of Adams County by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Canine distemper cannot be passed on to people and presents no danger to humans; however, there is no treatment for animals infected with Canine Distemper and it is not a required vaccine given to pets like the Rabies shot is. Fortunately, area veterinarians have not seen an increase in domestic pets with Canine Distemper but vaccinating your pets is the best method of prevention for your pets and assist in controlling the outbreak.
The biggest symptom of Canine Distemper to be on the lookout for is if you see a raccoon in broad daylight. This is not typical behavior for the species and residents are asked to report this to the police by calling 303-288-1535.
For more info on symptoms, treatment and prevention visit www.raccoonworld.com/raccoondistemper.html