Genoa Township administrators recently emailed a caution to township residents that, in response to reports of raccoons acting out of character, the Delaware General Health District issued a reminder to pet owners to have their pets vaccinated.
The email noted that distemper and rabies could look similar in an infected animal. The animal may appear confused and stumble and fall down.
The rabies virus can affect any mammal. It’s most common in carnivores and bats. Rabies is also a serious disease in humans, capable of causing death if left untreated.
Distemper comes in two forms: canine distemper and feline distemper, and both of these can affect raccoons, minks, ferrets, badgers and related species.
As the names suggest, canine distemper affects dogs, wolves, foxes and other members of the Canidae family; feline distemper infects cats, bobcats, lynxes and other members of family Felidae.
Vaccinations are available for dogs and cats for distemper and rabies, the two most serious concerns for animals spending time outdoors.
If either condition is suspected, do not approach animals, and do not approach any animal acting out of character.
“To protect yourself, be sure to vaccinate your pet and report animal bites,” the email stated. “Scratches, bites or other exposures are required to be reported to the health district.”
If you have been bitten or otherwise exposed, utilize the online exposure report at delawarehealth.org or contact the Delaware General Health District at 740-368-1700.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093