CANINE DISTEMPER OUTBREAK SUSPECTED IN WINNIPEG-AREA RACCOONS
Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives’ Office of the Chief Veterinarian of are advising pet owners there have been a number of reports of raccoons displaying symptoms of canine distemper in Winnipeg and Headingley in the past month.
Canine distemper can easily spread from raccoons to dogs. Dogs that have been infected with distemper tend to suffer a progressive deterioration of mental abilities and motor skills.
Dog owners, especially those living in the affected area, are advised to ensure their dogs have been vaccinated against distemper and to prevent contact between dogs and wildlife. Dog owners who are unsure if their pets are adequately vaccinated should contact their local veterinarian. Routine vaccinations of dogs are highly effective in preventing disease.
Reports have come from areas with typically high raccoon populations including near the Red and Assiniboine rivers as well as the Corydon area of Winnipeg.
Infected raccoons were acting very disoriented or lethargic, with crusted eyes, excess mucus coming from the nasal area, and shallow or laboured breathing. Residents who see a raccoon in such a condition are asked to keep people and pets well away from it and report it to Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship at 204‑945-5221.
Humans are not at risk from this disease. However, people can reduce the number of raccoons near their homes by securing garbage and removing other attractants (including bird feeders and outside pet food bowls).