Miami-Dade County Animal Services is urging residents to make sure their cats and dogs are up-to-date with distemper and rabies vaccinations after a raccoon tested positive for canine distemper at Tropical Park.
Distemper is a viral infection that can spread from unvaccinated dogs and cats to raccoons and other wildlife. Pets should be vaccinated annually to protect them from the disease, which could be deadly.
Symptoms of distemper include nasal discharge, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, dry eyes, ulcers, lack of coordination, seizures, ataxia and blindness. The disease does not pose a threat to humans.
Miami-Dade County Parks will now be monitoring and enforcing animal abandonment laws of dogs or cats at county parks to prevent the disease from spreading. Those who violate the laws are subject to fines of up to $5,000. Parks officials also say anyone found feeding a domestic or wild animal at a park will be fined up to $200.
To make sure your pet is safe from distemper and rabies, make an appointment with your vet or stop by Miami-Dade Animal Services at 7401 NW 74th Street for a low-cost vaccination.
For more animal news, check out our All About Animals page.