Veterinary Public Health

Pet Health Calendar
Contact Information
Veterinary Public Health Program
313 N Figueroa St. Rm 1127
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel (213) 288-7060
Fax (213) 481-2375
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Distemper Outbreak in Raccoons, 2009-2010

During late 2009 and early 2010, the Veterinary Public Health & Rabies Control Program  investigated a large outbreak of Distemper in local raccoons. A total of 137 suspected cases were reported, with 9 cases being confirmed by necropsy.

Clusters of cases were identified in several areas of the county (see maps below). During this outbreak, the disease also spread to other species, with cases reported in 41 dogs, 5 coyotes, 3 foxes (1 fox  confirmed by necropsy)  and 6 skunks. As the disease had spread around the county, it was important to alert dog owners about the distemper risk and encourage them to keep their dog’s distemper vaccinations up to date.

Distemper is a contagious virus that can infect dogs, raccoons, skunks, foxes, ferrets, lions and tigers. The virus infects the whole body and suppresses the immune system. Animals infected with Distemper can spread the virus through direct contact with other animals or by contaminating the environment with infectious discharges. Infected animals become very sick, and develop nasal and ocular discharges, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, neurologic symptoms, and may die.

Click here to read more about Distemper.

RECOMMENDATIONS for Distemper Prevention in Dogs

  • Vaccination. Dog owners should make sure their pet’s Distemper vaccination is up-to-date.
  • NEVER FEED WILDLIFE. Do not encourage wildlife to come into your yard. Do not leave pet food or water outside. Keep trash in sealed containers.
  • Education. Please educate others about Distemper sharing this alert pdf iconand this poster.pdf icon
  • Report Cases. Veterinarians should report any suspected cases of Distemper to our program by completing and faxing in  this case report form.pdf icon Animal control agencies should also report any suspected cases of distemper in both dogs and wildlife.

We may ask that selected animals be submitted for testing to confirm diagnosis.

Distemper Alert pdf icon
Distemper Alert Poster pdf icon


Last updated March 25, 2016

Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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