CALL 1-855-WILD-HELP (1-855-945-3435)

Distemper Cases Continue

Raccoon with Distemper

Raccoon with Distemper: Messy, unkempt, doesn’t look well in general

Distemper cases are still extremely high in multiple St. Louis suburbs. 99% of these cases are raccoons. We also have reports of distemper foxes and coyotes this month as well.  Cities included in this outbreak are: Chesterfield, Wildwood, Clarkson Valley, Ballwin, Ellisville, Kirkwood, and Fenton/High Ridge.  Please make sure your dogs are up to date on their vaccines and keep them away from wildlife, especially if the animal looks sick or confused.  Even if your dog is vaccinated, raccoon versus dog is never pretty. If you witness a sick animal in your area, please keep pets on a leash until the animal is picked up by a wildlife rehabilitator. Also discuss wildlife with your small children.  Visit our website @  and show your children photos of the wildlife that lives in your area. Make sure that your children understand that no matter how ‘nice’ a wild animal acts, they should NEVER be approached, ‘petted’, fed, or cornered.  Some of our native wildlife is pretty darn cute, and it is difficult for younger kids to understand the difference between a sick raccoon and the neighbor’s puppy.

Signs of distemper include:

MANY people describe distemper as an animal ‘acting drunk’, disoriented, confused

Nocturnal species (raccoons/skunks) out during the day, aimlessly wandering around

Animal not shying away from people or pets, not attempting to walk/run/climb to get away from you or your pets

Distemper Raccoon

Distemper Raccoon: Eyes Sunken, Dry dull nose

Slow-motion behaviors such as walking extremely slowly, stopping in between steps to rest or lie down

Raccoons often act as though they have a broken leg, or as though their rear end doesn’t work, dragging it along with them by their front paws

Walking in circles, over and over again, seemingly unaware of anything around them

Attempting to walk and falling over, climbing and falling, repetitively trying again but failing each time

Seizures – sometimes this looks like a raccoon is shivering from being cold, other times it appears they are chewing on bubble gum, or lifting their front lip as though they are growling but nothing is near them to be growling at.

*Remember: Both Missouri & Illinois have not had a raccoon test positive for rabies in over 50 YEARS!  It is highly improbable that a sick raccoon in our area is a rabid animal.*

If you witness any of these symptoms in wildlife in your area, please call the Wildlife Hotline 24 hours a day to speak with a wildlife specialist.  We can be reached at (636) 492-1610 or 1-800-482-7950. 

Comments are closed.