Raccoon Distemper

This past weekend we were at our family cottage with some friends. We had just gotten there around 5 pm and we were all standing outside when I saw a juvenile raccoon under the deck.

My husband and his friends tried to scare the raccoon instead the raccoon ran up a tree close to the cottage. We tried going for a 20 minute walk to see if it would leave and when we came back it was still there. It continued to stay there overnight.

We thought it was odd the raccoon didn’t leave the tree overnight and throughout the next day. We noticed the raccoon was having what looked like a seizure and looked like he was going to fall out of the tree. My husband then got on the roof and tried scaring it down by spraying it with water, the raccoon just drank the water. The raccoon had two more seizures and started to foam at the mouth. That’s when I tried finding a local wildlife sanctuary to come and get this raccoon. The woman on the phone informed me that it sounded like the raccoon has distemper.

Thankfully, my dog is up to date on vaccines. She informed me that unfortunately there is nothing that they could do. There is no cure plus they were far from us and had no volunteer drivers to come pick up the raccoon. Keep the dog away and most likely the raccoon will sadly die in the tree. She informed me that if the raccoon does come down, signs of distemper will be fearless of humans, diarrhea, vomiting, and the seizures.

After dinner when we went outside to make a campfire we noticed the raccoon was gone! It was dark out so we put the dog inside and got out all the flashlights. We searched everywhere and couldn’t believe this raccoon had finally come down after all that time. After a while my husband let the dog out and it was crazy how he instantly smelled the raccoon and found him! He wasn’t far either in fact he was on some rocks by the lake that was close to the campfire.

The raccoon didn’t seem to care that my dog was barking at him. I grabbed my dog and put him inside. The raccoon then started towards everyone at the campfire. It was eerie, the guys were shouting at it but he didn’t seem to care. Finally my husband was able to scare it away by turning on his trucks alarm. We never saw the raccoon after that.

I felt sorry for this poor raccoon, but I thought what other animals did this raccoon infect? Vaccination are important because it protects our own beloved pets and it protects the spread of disease to other wildlife.

Canine distemper is a viral disease that can affect a wide variety of animal families. Including domestic and wild species of dogs, coyotes, foxes, pandas, wolves, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, and large cats—though not domestic cats. The disease is contagious via inhalation and fatal. About 50% of the time it remains a major disease of dogs, and is the leading cause of infectious disease death in dogs.

By: Jessica Weston