The Humane Society is hosting a free pet vaccine clinic on Saturday in response to reports of increased distemper cases among raccoons and other wildlife.
Dogs with current vaccines are considered well-protected against the virus, but the disease is highly contagious and often fatal to un-vaccinated dogs. Canine distemper does not affect cats, but free cat vaccines will also be offered at Saturday’s clinic.
The free vaccine clinic runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday at LeMay Pierce County Refuse “Freddie Fest”, 4111 192nd Street East in Tacoma.
Basic dog and cat combination vaccines, which include distemper, are free. Rabies vaccines for dogs and cats are $10, and microchip identification will be offered for $25.
Animal control officers in Tacoma have picked up four raccoons in the past week who showed symptoms of distemper. Pierce County Animal Services has issued warnings about increased cases of canine distemper among raccoons, foxes, and coyotes. The disease has also been identified in dogs at local shelters over the summer.
The Humane Society is encouraging pet owners to be sure their pets are current on all vaccines, and to obtain a booster if they are unsure. In addition, Tacoma and Pierce County animal control recommends that you discourage raccoons and other wildlife from visiting your property by keeping it free of food, water, shelter, or other attractions. They urge residents to keep waste cans secure, bring any pet food or water dishes inside, pick up fallen fruit, and close off access to basements, attics, or garages. Distemper causes “cold-like” symptoms, including eye and nose discharge, as well as neurological symptoms, such as walking in circles.
If you see a raccoon or other animal with these symptoms, call 911 for an immediate animal control response. If your pet shows signs of distemper, call your veterinarian for advice. Do not take a pet with distemper symptoms into a veterinary clinic or animal shelter without checking with the staff, as the disease is highly contagious.