Three raccoons in Long Beach have tested positive for distemper, Long Beach Animal Care Services announced today. While distemper poses no threat to human health, Animal Care Services is encouraging pet owners to vaccinate their dogs and cats and to contact a doctor immediately if scratched or bitten by a raccoon.
Health officials suggest that all pet owners feed their pets indoors or remember to remove any leftover food after feeding pets outdoors, to refrain from feeding wildlife, to prevent pets from roaming outdoors and to keep dogs on a leash when out and about.
According to health officials, distemper can be spread to healthy animals by coming into direct contact with an infected animal or its bodily secretions and waste. The virus does not survive for very long outside of the body, therefore transmission requires an up-close interaction for it to be spread by direct contact or exposure by air.
According to health officials, symptoms of an infected animal are similar to those shown by an animal infected with rabies. Major symptoms of canine distemper include high fever, reddened eyes and a watery discharge from the nose and eyes. Lethargy, tiredness and anorexia, as well as persistent coughing, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur in an infected dog.
Infected cats will experience fever, vomiting, diarrhea and sudden death.
Report sick or injured animals by calling Animal Care Services at (562) 570-7387.
Low-cost pet vaccination clinics are held monthly in Long Beach parks. The next clinics are scheduled for Saturday, February 7, at Bixby Park, 130 Cherry Ave., from 10:00AM - 11:30AM; and at Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., from 1:30PM - 3:00PM. For more information and for other dates and locations, click here.