Toronto-area veterinarians should be mindful of an increase in distemper cases affecting one of the city’s most populous wildlife residents.
Toronto Animal Services says it has seen an “unprecedented” spike in the number of distemper cases in the city’s raccoon population, reports CityNews.
Indeed, while the virus is generally present in raccoons and tends to spread between May and November each year, Toronto’s recent mild winter has led to “sustained spread” throughout December and is continuing into this spring, Jasmine Herzog-Evans, the manager of Toronto Animal Services’ Enforcement and Mobile Response Unit, tells CityNews.
Looking at data, Herzog-Evans says the unit received 451 requests for service related to raccoons in 2022. In the same period this year, they have already received 1,088, she says.
Raccoons with distemper may approach people or curl up to sleep in open areas. While these animals are generally disoriented or lethargic, they can become aggressive if cornered.
To prevent infection in companion animals, it is recommended dogs are supervised when outside and, of course, vaccinated against distemper.
For more, see CityNews.