By CBSLA Staff

LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Long Beach Animal Care Services warned the public and dog owners Thursday of a distemper outbreak that has affected at least 38 raccoons and at least one skunk, primarily in the eastern area of the city.

According to the agency, puppies and unvaccinated dogs are at the highest risk of infection for the distemper virus.

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Animal Care Services said it can be transmitted through direct contact with a sick animal or from being near an infected animal when it is coughing or sneezing.

It can also spread through shared food and water bowls or other objects that were contaminated by an infected animal.

Pet owners are urged to vaccinate dogs for distemper, keep puppies at home and away from unfamiliar dogs until they have completed the vaccination series.

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They are also told to use caution when socializing dogs or in areas where dogs congregate, such as dog parks, doggy daycare and boarding facilities; keep dogs away from wildlife; and keep pet food and water indoors.

Common clinical signs of distemper in dogs include discharge from the eyes and/or nose, fever, coughing, lethargy, disorientation, tremors and seizures, with similar clinical signs in raccoons and other wildlife.

Suspected distemper cases should be reported to the Long Beach Veterinary Disease Reporting System at longbeach.gov/vdrs.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)