On Tuesday 03/23/2021, a sick raccoon was discovered near the woods behind 6466 Brick Hearth Ct. The animal protection police were called and arrived on scene around 7:45 p.m. The officer determined that the raccoon had distemper and unfortunately had to put the animal down with a few gunshots (due to the severity of the disease and its affects on the body and nervous system).
In cases like this, where there has been no known exposure to pets, they do not conduct any tests on the animal. The responding officer said his department had put down several raccoons over the past weeks, also with distemper.
Canine distemper is a contagious viral disease that does not infect people, but can cause serious illness or death in canine and feline species, including dogs, foxes, coyotes and skunks as well as raccoons. The disease is transmitted when animals have direct contact with infected animals or indirect contact with body fluids/feces from an infected animal.
Some basic precautions can help you avoid any run-ins with distemper.
- Ensure pets are up to date on their distemper vaccine (and rabies, while you're at it)
- Keep dogs on a leash at all times and keep cats inside
- Do not approach or feed any wild animals
- Feed pets inside
- Remove wildlife attractants from yards, such as unsecured garbage cans, open containers of food and compost
If you see a raccoon that appears sick, lethargic, disoriented, or aggressive, stay away from the animal and call the Fairfax County Animal Protection Police at 703-691-2131.