Pinellas County

Dog owners warned after canine distemper found at Fort De Soto Park

Certain dogs should stay away

FORT DE SOTO PARK, Fla. (WFLA) - A potentially-deadly virus could be lurking at Fort De Soto Park, and your dog could be at risk.

Infected raccoons are to blame.

Recent testing found they have Canine distemper.

The virus is easy to spread,and potentially hard to treat.

Testing found Canine distemper in raccoons at the popular park.

It's a dog's dream. Fun on the sand at the Fort De Soto Park dog beach.

Vicky Cuauro isn't worried about Elon.

He has all his vaccinations.

“Yeah, you have to take care of your dog and do everything you have to do for it. Ya know? For he have to be healthy,” she said.

Until additional testing is done on more raccoons, puppies, older dogs, unvaccinated dogs and dogs with a weak immune system should not come to Fort De Soto Park.

“Canine distemper can be very dangerous with a 50 percent mortality. It really depends on how that animal is affected by the virus,” said Lake Seminole Animal Hospital Veterinarian, Dr. Veronica Brenes-LaRoche.

Dr. Brenes-LaRoche warns dog owners canine distemper can be treated, if caught early.

Better still, is the vaccine.

“Most dogs will be very protected with vaccine. That's why we recommend every puppy is vaccinated,” said Dr. Brenes-LaRoche.

Signs at the park warn about the Canine distemper virus.

Some dog owners don't get their pets vaccinated. The results can be deadly.

“Once they develop neurological symptoms, the prognosis it not good at all,” said Dr. Brenes-LaRoche.

Symptoms off Canine distemper include, sneezing, a cough, not eating, fever and goopy stuff coming from their eyes. If you see those signs, your dog needs to see a vet.


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