Arlington County warns residents after several raccoons tested positive for distemper
ARLINGTON, Virginia. – Arlington County wants residents to watch out for raccoons after several community members tested positive for “canine distemper.”
READ MORE: Arlington issues warning after potentially rabid raccoon bites person
Previously, authorities had warned the county of raccoons that may have been infected with rabies.
READ MORE: Coyote, shot dead after series of attacks in Rockville, tested positive for rabies
However, more recently they have rounded up six raccoons and each of them has tested positive for distemper.
Rabies and canine distemper are both serious – and potentially fatal – but there are some important differences.
While rabies affects the brain and nervous system of animals, distemper can impact their gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.
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Experts offer the following guidelines for protecting your pets from canine distemper:
– Ensure that animals are up to date with their vaccines against rabies and distemper
– Keep dogs on a leash at all times and keep cats indoors
– Stay away from and feed wild animals
– Feed the animals inside
– Remove wildlife attractants from yards, such as unsecured garbage cans, open food and compost containers
If you see a raccoon in Arlington acting weird – if it appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive – call Animal Control at 703-931-9241.