New York City is among the most densely populated cities in the world, which means that large amounts of people can fall victim to disease within a short span of time. It is for this reason that public health authorities take great measures to prevent disease-carrying animals, like certain insects and rodents, from establishing a presence within urbanized areas. However, disease-carrying animals can also pose a significant threat to populations of domesticated animals. One such disease of this kind, canine distemper, is infecting numerous raccoons that dwell within Prospect Park. These infected raccoons are considered a major threat to the city’s population in Brooklyn.
For the past several days, raccoons have been stumbling out of Prospect Park and into surrounding neighborhoods during the daytime. Numerous Brooklyn residents have noticed the raccoons on several occasions, and one resident claimed that a raccoon almost landed on her after it fell out of a tree. According to the woman who nearly fell victim to the falling raccoon, Phyllis Klein, the raccoon was behaving strangely, but it eventually crawled off in a trance-like state after regaining some semblance of awareness. Klein’s experience is shared by numerous residents who also claim to have witnessed other sick raccoons falling from trees.
Canine distemper is spread through the saliva of infected animals. Even a seemingly trivial raccoon sneeze can spread pathogens into the environment where they could be acquired by dogs. The disease symptoms are the same for both raccoons and dogs, as each suffer serious damage to their nervous system, which results in confusion and eventually death if left untreated. Once a few raccoons in Prospect Park were determined to be carrying distemper, officials with the Department of Parks and Recreation issued a warning to residents. This warning urged residents to leash their dogs, and to report any strange behavior among raccoons and dogs within the area.
Have you ever had reason to be concerned about your dog contracting distemper?