Owners of unvaccinated dogs are being advised to temporarily avoid bringing pets to Chestnut Park in Palm Harbor after discovery of a canine distemper virus in a raccoon there. The tested raccoon no longer poses a threat to park visitors and pets.
Pet owners should continue to avoid the park until further tests on other raccoons are completed. Animal Services reminds pet owners to keep vaccinations for their dogs and cats up to date to prevent the spread of diseases. Pet owners can get their pets vaccinated at their private veterinary clinic.
Canine distemper is a virus that affects a dog's gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as eye membranes. The first signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing and thick mucus coming from the eyes and nose. Fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms of the virus. Pet owners are urged to seek immediate medical attention if their pets exhibit these symptoms. The virus spreads rapidly and must be aggressively treated as soon it is discovered.