Canine Distemper and Raccoons

Beth Bunting
March 21, 2018

Updated April 1, 2019: The table and chart have been updated with wildlife health report data through the end of 2018.

Canine Distemper is common in the spring in raccoons, skunks and foxes when animals emerge and become more active. We see cases every year, although this year we are getting more than the typical number of reports from the Niagara area. Distemper is also transmissible to dogs, and pet owners may want to make sure that their animals are up to date on vaccinations. Distemper does not infect people, but symptoms of distemper in these animals are very similar to rabies, and it isn’t possible to tell these diseases apart without laboratory testing. For this reason, we advise anyone who comes in contact with these animals to be extremely cautious and treat them like rabies suspects until proven otherwise.

This table gives the number of positive distemper tests per year by species for samples submitted to the Wildlife Health Program.
This graph shows the number of positive distemper tests by month and year on samples submitted to the Wildlife Helath Program since 2014.

CWHL Resources