Commonly Infected Wildlife

Mammals (carnivores), especially raccoons, foxes, coyotes, skunks, otters, and bobcats.

Is This Animal Infected?

Clinical signs vary, but may include coughing or difficulty breathing, thickened skin on the nose and footpads, thick discharge or crusting around the eyes and nose, and abnormal behavior, including convulsions or loss of coordination.

The viruses cannot survive very long in the environment, so infection from contact with a contaminated surface or object is rare.

Juvenile animals are more susceptible to disease.

Raccoon with distemper

Can I Get It?

Distemper viruses are not known to infect humans.

How bad can it get?

Distemper viruses are not known to infect humans.

Symptoms in humans

Distemper viruses are not known to infect humans.

Protect Myself and Others

Affected animals should not be handled. Although distemper viruses are not known to infect humans, rabies, a potentially deadly disease, causes similar clinical signs in the animals it affects.

Safe for Pets?

No. Dogs and cats are at risk of contracting distemper. It is highly recommended that domestic dogs and cats be vaccinated for protection against distemper. This should be discussed with your veterinarian.

What Causes It?

Canine and feline distemper are caused by two different viruses that affect wild and domestic carnivores.

Distemper is highly contagious between animals. The viruses are spread by direct contact with mouth or eye secretions, or through inhalation of infected respiratory droplets.