(June 6, 2019) — Raccoons acting strangely. Skunks wobbling around. The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) is reporting a significant increase in Washtenaw County wildlife with distemper and parvovirus, diseases that can be deadly to pets if they’re not vaccinated.
“HSHV’s Emergency Rescue Department has responded to hundreds of emergency wildlife calls so far this year and seen a roughly 45% increase in sick wildlife. Community wildlife rehabilitators are reporting similar. It’s a concerning and sad situation for wildlife and for pets in danger of contracting these diseases,” says HSHV’s CEO, Tanya Hilgendorf.
“We’ve also seen an uptick in community dogs with parvovirus at our outpatient Veterinary Clinic. We don’t want to cause alarm, but this gives rise to an important reminder to keep your pets up to date on vaccines and be very careful where you go with puppies who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated and older animals with weaker immune systems.”
While these diseases do not pose a danger to humans, unvaccinated pets can contract the disease through contact with infected animals or their bodily fluids. Dogs are more susceptible than cats, but cats may also be at risk depending on the strain. The symptoms are extremely serious, often fatal, requiring immediate veterinary treatment.
Both distemper and parvovirus have serious gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Distemper may also include neurological symptoms such as tremors, stumbling, seizures and paralysis.
Fortunately, both distemper and parvovirus are largely preventable with a simple vaccine and are part of the standard core vaccines provided by veterinarians.
If you see sick or injured wildlife in Washtenaw County, please call HSHV’s Rescue Department, run 100% on individual donations: 734-661-3512.