The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has determined that a local raccoon submitted for testing and was infected with the Canine Distemper virus. San Gabriel Valley Humane Society has handled several dead or diseased raccoons over the past two weeks and suspects these too were infected with the virus. While they have not seen the disease in coyotes or skunks, they too can become infected.
This disease is highly contagious to dogs and puppies. Distemper is often fatal. The good news is that Distemper is preventable in dogs and puppies with a simple vaccination.
Veterinarians offer the Distemper vaccination typically as a part of a dog's annual physical exam/new puppy's vaccination protocol. San Gabriel Valley Humane Society's low cost vaccination clinic also offers the vaccination to the public. Our clinic hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 2-4 p.m. No appointment is necessary.
Additionaly, residents should be encouraged to keep their dogs away from sick dogs and wildlife and keep all pet food and water bowls indoors. The virus is airborne and can also be transmitted by shared water and food bowls.
Information will be available on the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society's website about this current Distemper outbreak shortly. Information is also available on the Department of Public Health website at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/vet/distemper.htm.
The 2014-2015 Distemper outbreak in racoons, located in the southern area of Los Angeles County, had a total of 129 documented cases, 6 confirmed and 123 suspected. This year, in addition to our cases, Distemper has reportedly been found in Azusa, Covina, and West Covina.
Working together, we can encourage our community residents to vaccinate their pets and maintain the health of our companion animals.
For more information, contact the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society at 626.286.1159.