Grand Haven is having some issues with raccoons suffering from distemper.

The warnings being issued by the Department of Natural Resources and the Grand Haven Police are lost on me, because as a rule, I avoid all raccoons.

According to the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, five recent reports of raccoons behaving strangely has caused them to issue a field guide to raccoons who appear to be suffering from canine distemper.

The remains of one sick raccoon has been sent to MSU for further study.

The DNR has also been referring people to their web page about raccoons with distemper, and the belief that the annual 'die-off' of sick raccoons may have begun.

In Michigan, die-offs of raccoons due to canine distemper occur yearly. The impact of this disease on other wildlife populations is not known at this time. Unvaccinated domestic dogs are fully susceptible to the canine distemper virus, therefore, annual vaccination is recommended. Due to the similarity of some of the clinical signs of canine distemper and rabies, affected animals should be handled with caution until a diagnosis is confirmed. Canine distemper is of no public health significance to humans.

Wobbly, coughing raccoons who are out in the daytime (raccoons are usually nocturnal) are to be suspect, and should be avoided. Actually, it's best to avoid raccoons altogether, before they become zombies.

Local wildlife rescue, Soulshine Wildlife Center, also posted some more tips and tricks (for your pets and when it comes to encountering a potentially sick raccoon) on their Facebook page Tuesday:




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