Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 7:01 pm | Fair 75º


Pet Vaccines Urged After Canine Distemper Found Locally in Raccoons

Santa Barbara County Animal Services is advising the community to be on high alert after identifying multiple cases of distemper in wildlife, especially raccoons, throughout the city of Santa Barbara and southern Santa Barbara County.

The public was first alerted to this risk to domestic dogs in October 2017. Animal Services said it still is seeing affected raccoons in heavily populated areas, and encourages owners to be sure their pets are current on all vaccines.

Canine distemper is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems. Canine distemper poses no threat to human health, but unvaccinated dogs can become infected.

Raccoons that are infected with distemper often move slowly, stumble, and can appear blind and/or confused. They may lose their fear of humans, and can become aggressive if cornered.

Distemper is most commonly spread through coughing infected respiratory secretions, but can also be shed through most other bodily secretions, including urine.

If you notice a raccoon or other wildlife behaving abnormally or acting sick, do not approach the animal, Animal Services said.

In unincorporated areas of the county, call Santa Barbara County Animal Services, 681-5285. In the city of Santa Barbara, call Santa Barbara City Animal Control, 963-1513.

Animal Services said, keep your dog on a leash, scan your yard before allowing your dog out, and do not leave pet food outside that can attract wildlife.

The cost of prevention is much cheaper than the cost of treatment, so call your veterinarian today to have your pet vaccinated or for any questions about your pet’s health or vaccination history, Animal Services said.

— Jennifer Adame for Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >