Toronto sees spike in raccoons with canine distemper virus

Toronto sees spike in raccoons with canine distemper virus

If the crisp autumn air and falling leaves don't get you excited for winter, it turns out you aren't alone.

Toronto is seeing a spike in raccoons with canine distemper virus or CDV, a condition that spikes in the fall. The condition causes the animals to become disoriented, lethargic and even aggressive if cornered. 

But the virus isn't limited to just raccoons. The City of Toronto says it can be passed to dogs and skunks too, causing harmful and potentially permanent effects to the animals' respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems - and can even be fatal.

The virus poses no risk to human health but dogs who have not been vaccinated against it can become infected if they come into contact with raccoons carrying the disease.

The city is recommending against approaching or feeding the animals and say anyone who notices a raccoon displaying "abnormal behaviour" should contact Toronto Animal Services at 416-338-PAWS (7297).