While understandably reluctant, many big-city Canadians have become accustomed to sharing their environment with raccoons and skunks, but dog owners have additional reason to be concerned this fall.
Toronto city officials have recently released a warning
to residents to be on the lookout for strangely-behaving raccoons, following a surge in canine distemper cases. The Toronto Wildlife Centre
director Nathalie Karvonen declared for the Toronto Star
that, “The disease has been raging through the [raccoon] population for a while, but we’ve seen a dramatic increase this fall.” She notes that the animal shelter has been receiving up to 20 raccoon-related calls a day.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a highly contagious and incurable condition that originates in dogs, but can be spread to other animals, including skunks and raccoons. While humans are not affected by the disease, in dogs
, CDV is a severe, multi-systemic virus that can affect the animals’ respiratory, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems, causing harmful and potentially permanent damage.