TWRA: Be wary of distemper in racoons around your pets

     The Morristown Humane Society reported cases of distemper among its animal population and promptly responded in early 2022, shutting down the facility for the last 2 weeks of January.

     The virus is extremely dangerous, affecting animals’ gastrointestinal, respiratory and nervous systems.

     The TWRA says that Communities across East Tennessee may have noticed more raccoons running around. Officials said this is normal as the weather warms up and more animals search for food.  They also warn that cases of distemper tend to tick up during warmer seasons, especially among raccoons.

     Experts previously said the distemper virus circulates through wildlife approximately every 5 to 7 years and during this time, dogs and other pets are at a higher risk of contracting and spreading it.  It is mostly spread through airborne exposure like sneezing or coughing, but can also be transmitted through shared food and water bowls in shelters.

     It has been reported in foxes, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, mink and ferrets in the past, according to veterinary experts.