Pet owners warned of deadly virus found in Palm Harbor

- Pet owners are being warned to avoid John Chesnut Sr. Park in Palm Harbor after a raccoon in the area tested positive for canine distemper virus.

Animal service employees said they have no reports of exposures to pets from the infected raccoon. The tested raccoon no longer poses a threat to park visitors or pets but the county is urging pet owners to stay out of the park until further notice.

Canine distemper virus is a disease that affects a dog's gastrointestinal, respiratory and central nervous systems, as well as eye membranes.  Infected dogs may develop a fever, lethargy, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, depression and/or lose their appetite.

Puppies, senior dogs, unvaccinated dogs or dogs that may have a compromised immune system should avoid the John Chesnut Sr. Park.

County employees are using this as an opportunity to remind pet owners to stay up to date with vaccinations.

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