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Michigan DNR warns of wildlife illness in Meridian Township

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Biologists are tracking suspected cases of canine distemper among raccoons in Meridian Township.

Michigan wildlife biologists are tracking cases of a disease that’s mainly affecting raccoons in the Meridian Township area.

Meridian Police say officers have had to euthanize a number of raccoons displaying what’s suspected to be canine distemper.

It’s a virus that’s highly contagious among carnivores but is not harmful to humans.

Animals exhibiting the virus may appear to be wandering or dizzy.

Vomiting and seizures are also common.

Chad Fedewa with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says maintaining your distance from a suspect animal is best, but there may be situations in which euthanizing the animal is appropriate.

“If it’s legal to do where you’re located, that’s an option,” Fedewa said. “Or, certainly call in DNR or the local police department if they’re able to respond.”

Fedewa says regular veterinary visits can help pet owners protect their animals.

“So, as long as your pets; dogs, particularly, are up to date on their vaccines for canine distemper, there’s not much concern as far as transmission from wild animals,” he said.

Most cases of canine distemper among dogs are seen during fall and winter.

Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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