Dogs are not allowed at Greenwich Point Park as a precaution after several raccoon deaths.
A notice on the town website says the health director issued the closure order after test results on dead raccoons found in the park identified distemper within that population.
Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The American Kennel Club warns that wild animals can get distemper and an outbreak can put dogs at risk for catching the disease, even if they do not come into contact with other dogs.
A paramyxovirus causes distemper, which is highly contagious and can be lethal.
The park is closed to dogs until further notice.
Town officials urge dog owners to keep dogs leashed and is under your control while out walking and not to let your dog go near any dead or live wild animals.
If you are walking and see a dead, sick or distressed raccoon, do not touch or approach it, Instead, call the Greenwich Public Safety Communications Center at 203-622-8004.
Symptoms of Canine Distemper
- Watery discharge from the eyes.
- Nasal discharge
- Reduced appetite
- Circling behavior
- Head tilt
- Muscle twitches
- Convulsions with jaw chewing movements and salivation
- Seizures, and partial or complete paralysis. The virus may also cause the footpads to thicken and harden, leading to its nickname “hard pad disease.”
Preventing Canine Distemper
- Avoid contact with infected animals and wildlife
- Use caution when socializing puppies or unvaccinated dogs at parks, puppy classes, obedience classes, doggy day care and other places where dogs can congregate.
- Pet ferrets should be vaccinated against canine distemper using a USDA-approved ferret vaccine.
Note: Tips are from the American Veterinary Medical Association