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The canine disease distemper affects coyotes, foxes, and raccoons, as well as domestic dogs. An upswing in the virus has County Animal Services advising dog owners to ensure their dog’s vaccination for distemper is up to date.
Affected animals appear lethargic, stumble, and can seem blind or confused; they can also become aggressive when cornered, Animal Services warned. The disease is commonly spread through coughs and other bodily secretions like urine. Keeping dogs on a leash and scanning for wildlife before allowing them outdoors can help them avoid encountering wildlife. Keeping food indoors discourages wildlife from seeking a free meal.
If an animal that seems to have distemper is spotted, call Animal Services at (805) 934-6119, and use extension 7 to reach a staff member.