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article imageToronto police warn of virus carried by raccoons after man bitten

By Karen Graham     Feb 12, 2018 in Health
Toronto - Toronto police warned residents to be cautious around raccoons, after responding to a call in Scarborough where a man said he had been chased and bitten by a raccoon he feared was rabid.
While no definitive diagnosis of CDV or canine distemper has been made public as yet, Toronto police and the city's animal services department said that a number of raccoons have been captured by the officers in response to what they believe is a viral outbreak among the animals.
According to two Tweets put out by the Toronto Police Department on Sunday, they responded to a complaint in Scarborough for a man who alleged he was chased and bitten by a raccoon he thought might be infected with rabies. The second of the two Tweets advised there is a virus spreading through the south end of the city and warned residents to be cautious.
Toronto Police OPS
The Weather Network is reporting an Animal Services spokesperson could not confirm that a bite had occurred. But they did say the raccoon was likely infected with canine distemper (CDV), a virus that is harmless to humans but can affect dogs. "It's a virus found within the raccoon population and is highly contagious," said Nicola Ware, a spokesperson for Toronto Animal Services.
"Deceased raccoons are routinely sent for testing. And to date, no raccoon from the Toronto area has tested positive for rabies," she said. It is believed the raccoon only made contact with the man's shoe, according to CTV News Canada.
Actually, canine distemper affects more than just dogs. The virus also infects coyotes, foxes, pandas, wolves, ferrets, skunks, raccoons, and large cats, as well as pinnipeds, some primates, and a variety of other species. CDV can also infect domestic cats that are being housed with dogs in close quarters.
Raccoon by LexnGer.
As we were leaving a friend s place  I saw this guy reach up and topple over th...
Raccoon by LexnGer. As we were leaving a friend's place, I saw this guy reach up and topple over the green compost bin. (which I was too slow to shoot) Then riffle through it for interesting tidbits.
flickr LexnGar
The captured raccoon was euthanized and will be tested for any infections, including rabies and distemper. It should be noted that raccoons that have distemper are always euthanized, as it's a fatal infection that causes a painful death for the animal.
Symptoms of distemper in raccoons
Raccoons, like dogs, exhibit similar symptoms. CDV most often begins with a respiratory infection, weepy eyes, and a runny nose. A raccoon, like a dog, can become lethargic and lose its appetite. As the disease progresses, a raccoon may develop pneumonia or diarrhea. In the final stages, neurological symptoms appear, including confusion, paralysis, and seizures.
And unfortunately, there is no cure for the distemper virus and it can be very painful and debilitating. And keep in mind that it is very difficult to distinguish between rabies and distemper just by looking at the animal. A raccoon, just like a dog with rabies, can get very aggressive against humans.
More about Toronto, Raccoons, canine distemper, polive warning, Rabies
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