Raccoons carrying incurable virus that infects dogs reported in 5 MN counties

Pet owners have been warned to keep their dogs away from dead or sick wildlife.

Raccoons with a disease that can be passed on to dogs have been found in five Minnesota counties, with dogs getting sick in two of them.

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a warning on Monday about canine distemper, a disease that can be spread through the air or by direct contact with raccoon urine, feces, blood or saliva.

Cases of dogs falling sick have been reported in Olmsted and Yellow Medicine counties, while infected raccoons have been reported in Dodge, Winona and Kandiyohi counties.

Although it doesn't affect humans, distemper in animals can look similar to rabies and pet owners are being urged to stay away from sick wildlife and ensure their dogs are up to date with their vaccines.

Canine distemper affects the central nervous system of animals including raccoons, foxes, wolves and skunks, causing them to behave abnormally, lose their fear of humans, stumble, shake and appear overly friendly.

Other symptoms can include sneezing, coughing and discharge from the eyes and nose.

There is no known cure for canine distemper, with treatment typically focusing on alleviating the symptoms, according to WebMD. The best way to protect your dog is to make sure they've gotten their distemper vaccination.

The Minnesota DNR's wildlife health supervisor Dr. Michelle Carstensen said a few cases of the canine distemper virus are reported in the state each year, but there has been a rise in reports so far in 2017.

There have also been rising reports in other states, including Tennessee, Virginia and Texas.

All dogs are at risk but puppies younger than 4 months old and unvaccinated dogs are at increased risk of getting the disease. You can find more information about it here.

Next Up

Gopher Hockey

Watch: No-call lifts Gophers to OT victory over St. Cloud State

A blatant hook marred a top-four battle in St. Cloud.

Ambulance hospital emergency

Driver killed after crashing into parked semi-trailer

The crash occurred on the 5800 block of University Avenue Northeast.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings-Panthers: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings will look to open things up in Carolina.

Tanner Morgan/Gopher Football

Morgan's resurgence, Nebraska's miscues help Gophers hold on

The Gophers quarterback threw a pair of touchdowns in a 30-23 victory.

Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith warns Dems she may not vote for budget bill if climate plan dropped

This comes amid a White House effort to get its "Build Back Better" plan passed.

Pixabay - emergency room ambulance hospital

St. Paul man dies six days after crash on I-94

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has identified the man as David Rodney Hardaway.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Double murder in northeastern Minnesota, suspect kills himself after chase

The suspect died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

chaska school fight

Anti-masker involved in school board meeting fight charged with assault

It happened last month at an Eastern Carver County Schools hearing.

Marcus Foligno

Marcus Foligno throws hands, scores game-winning goal in Wild's opener

The Wild forward scored with 7.2 seconds left to beat Anaheim.


Stop letting your dog eat corn on the cob

Keep corn on the cob away from your dog – even if Fido seems to enjoy gnawing on it.

Now possible animal poisonings are being reported in Apple Valley

Some pets and wild animals have apparently been poisoned.

Charges: Woman stole and killed dog after breaking into Minneapolis home

A Minneapolis woman is accused of two break-ins at the home of a woman she had "apparently been stalking."

Dogs poisoned by sausage treats laced with unknown substance in Wisconsin

A white substance has been placed inside the sausages, which are then wrapped in tooth floss.

Dozens of poorly-treated pets were removed from a Pine County home

Now in need of a home: 79 dogs, eight cats and six guinea pigs.