Deadly animal disease on the rise in Charlevoix County

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Wildlife officials are reporting an increase in Distemper among wild animals in Charlevoix County. Distemper is an incurable viral disease that affects the intestinal and respiratory tracts.

Animal control officials say there have been more than 30 cases of Distemper in raccoons, foxes and coyotes since June – a dramatic increase from previous years.

Emily Reynolds is with animal control in Charlevoix County.

She said household pets are also vulnerable to the disease, and owners should keep them away from wildlife and make sure they are up to date on their vaccines.

“They can give an IV for fluids and anti-vomiting drugs but there is no cure and it’s something horrible that can leave lasting damage because it does attack the nervous system. And that’s the last thing you want your pet to go through so i highly recommend that you talk with your veterinarian and make sure that everybody is healthy and safe.”

Reynolds said vaccinations are important in preventing Distemper.

“In wildlife unfortunately there’s not a whole lot we can do but when it comes to domestic animals we are advising everybody to make sure that their cats and dogs are up to date on their vaccinations for Distemper as well as rabies.”

Distemper does not pose a threat to humans.