Caddo Animal Services warns of rise in deadly disease

Residents are urged against leaving food and water outside, which could attract other, potentially dangerous, wildlife.

Caddo Animal Services warns of rise in deadly disease
Caddo Parish Animal Services is reporting a rise in distemper — a deadly disease carried by raccoons and transmitted to dogs. (Source: Christian Piekos)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Vaccinate your dogs.

That’s the message Caddo Parish Animal Services is urgently spreading in Shreveport, as they report an increase in a deadly disease — distemper.

The disease is commonly spread to dogs through raccoons carrying the virus.

“Our phone calls concerning raccoons just tripled in numbers,” said Dr. Gia Morgan, a veterinarian with Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of Louisiana (WERLA). “We took in 127 (raccoons) last year and we ended up euthanizing 63, which is 50 percent.”

Raccoons carrying the virus are lethargic, may have discharge from the nose and eyes, seem disoriented, as well as emaciated.

“We do have a good raccoon population here,” Morgan said. “They are not averse to living in suburban areas with lots of housing and other animals.”

Dr. Donna Bishop, a veterinarian with Caddo Animal Services, said prevention is the best defense for dogs.

“We feel it’s very important that everyone has their animal vaccinated and to keep animals away from wildlife,” Bishop said.

She also urges residents against leaving food and water outside, which could attract other, potentially dangerous, wildlife. Caddo Animal Service reports they have not seen any cases of distemper in dogs.

If you do see a raccoon acting abnormally, keep you and your pet away, and call Caddo Animal Services at (318) 226-6624.

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