PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Plano is dealing with a distemper outbreak. Officials with animal services say the problem is one of the worst ever dealt with in the area.

Pet owners are being warned to get their pets vaccinated, as the viral disease appears to be spreading through the Collin County raccoon population. “In the last three weeks we’ve picked up approximately 50 raccoons that all have been sick and dying from this virus,” explained Plano Animal Services Manager Jamey Cantrell.

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While distemper symptoms include fever, vomiting and seizures, many of the infected raccoons appear to be calm. “These guys can, whenever they’re sick with this, they can actually be friendly to people. They can allow people to pick them up,” Cantrell said.

The distemper virus in animals is similar to the one that causes measles in people. But the canine distemper virus is not contagious to humans.

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Both dogs and cats are in danger since raccoons can be infected with both the canine and feline strains of distemper. In addition to getting pets vaccinated, Plano residents are being warned against leaving pet food outdoors and advised to keep their pets away from wildlife.

Cantrell said recent North Texas weather has contributed to the problem. “The snow and the rains… that we’ve had recently that kind of creates a favorable environment for it.”
Any Plano resident who sees a raccoon or other wild animal that appears ill or injured should immediately contact Plano Animal Services at (972) 769- 4360.

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