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Distemper Cases Poses Risk for Dogs

LAKE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Rebekah Kane's three dogs love to run around her five-acre property near Lake Ariel.

But, she's keeping a closer eye on Cersei, Ramsay, and Tyrion after what she and her husband found near their home on Saturday.

They spotted a raccoon along Archbald Mountain Road just across the Lackawanna county line in Jefferson township. It was curled in a ball and appeared to be having seizures.

"I was concerned about rabies, it didn`t appear to be hit by a car. So, I was just thinking it needs to get to a place where it can be evaluated," Kane said.

Kane took the raccoon to the Pocono Wildlife and Rehab Center near Stroudsburg where officials told her the raccoon had distemper.

"So, now I`m aware of distemper in raccoons in this area, which is good to be aware for the neighbors and everybody else to take precautions, especially with wildlife, as they already should. But, now with this case, it`s just more concerning because it hits really close to home," Kane added.

Distemper is a virus that's easily transferable to dogs. Veterinarians told Newswatch 16 symptoms start with a fever and watery noses or eyes. Then they can escalate, a dog might become lethargic and finally suffer from seizures or paralysis.

Vets said the virus thrives in muggy weather like we've had the past few weeks.

After the raccoon encounter, Kane took her three dogs to get a distemper vaccine.

"I`m just trying to do whatever I have to do, vaccinate the dogs against distemper, probably the best measure," she said.

Veterinarians agree with that measure. Pets who are not vaccinated often pose the biggest risk to other pets.

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