LDWF warns of rabies-like disease among Louisiana raccoons
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is warning residents to be aware of a rabies-like disease being seen in raccoons and other animals.
The department has received an increased number of reports about raccoons infected with the "canine distemper." The complaints have primarily been reported from Lafayette to the northshore parishes.
Officials say the disease doesn't affect humans, only raccoons, foxes, coyotes, skunks, and unvaccinated dogs.
The department said the disease is spread among susceptible animals through direct contact with body fluids or droppings from an infected animal.
Distemper is not the same disease as rabies, although some symptoms are similar. Symptoms of distemper may include discharge from the nose and eyes, a rough coat of hair, seizures, coughing, emaciated appearance and unusual behavior such as disorientation or wandering aimlessly.
To discourage raccoons from coming in close proximity to homes, the LDWF recommends residents remove attractants like food and trash from their yards and feed pets indoors. Residents are also strongly discouraged from feeding raccoons.