Distemper outbreak raises concerns

Thursday, March 7, 2013 | 7:12 a.m. CST; updated 9:32 a.m. CST, Thursday, March 7, 2013

CLAYTON — St. Louis County residents are being warned about a serious outbreak of distemper in raccoons in several communities.

Bi-State Wildlife Hotline founder Angel Wintrode told KMOX Radio that a large number of raccoons with the disease have been euthanized since October. She said that in a normal year, three or four raccoons a month are put down. Now, it's three or four a day.

Dogs that have not received their parvo-distemper shot are susceptible to the fatal neurological disease if they're bitten by an infected animal.

Wintrode said one sign of an infected raccoon is that it comes out during daylight hours and shows no natural inclination to avoid humans or pets. The animal might also stumble as if it's drunk.

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