Jonathan Ashford, a spokesman for the city of Golden, says all the raccoons that were put down were acting unusual; mainly, they were out during the daytime hours. Officials say euthanizing the infected raccoons was their only option to slow the spread of the virus, which is potentially fatal for dogs.
Ashford says affected animals will develop a fever within three to six days and a second fever within 11 to 12 days. Infected dogs will also commonly have nasal or tear-duct discharge.
Officials say distemper can spread easily though bodily fluid contact, such as nasal discharge, feces or urine; or through food or water which has been infected.
Ashford says as the infection worsens, dogs' symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, unusual weight loss and neurological signs such as muscle group twitching and seizures. Puppies and older dogs could also develop pneumonia and encephalitis, Ashford says.
City officials say a dog's survival depends on how quickly it gets treatment for the infection. Authorities urge pet owners to report any unusual wildlife behavior.
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