Reports are on the rise of canine distemper in parts of Minnesota and the Minnesota DNR warns dog owners across the Northland to keep on close eye on their pets.  Canine distemper can be spread from raccoons to dogs through the air or by direct contact with urine, feces, blood or saliva.

According to the DNR, cases have been confirmed in Olmsted and Yellow Medicine counties and sick raccoons also have been reported in Dodge, Winona and Kandiyohi counties.

Pet owners should ensure dogs are current on vaccines. Pets should be kept away from sick or dead wildlife.   If you aren't sure if you dog is current on canine distemper vaccine, you are encouraged to call your veterinarian.

Canine distemper virus affects the central nervous system of mammals such as raccoons, foxes, wolves and skunks. Infected animals behave abnormally, losing their fear of humans, stumbling, shaking and can appear to be overly friendly. Other symptoms include sneezing, coughing and discharge from the eyes and nose.

Follow the link below for even more information on the disease.