Raccoons with distemper turning up in south St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS - Some residents in a south St. Louis neighborhood are concerned over a virus that's deadly to pets.

The possible outbreak has officials warning pet owners to get their dogs and cats vaccinated, while one woman is taking the problem into her own hands.

Teya King is a wildlife rescue and rehabilitation volunteer. She's been rounding up raccoons sick with distemper primarily in the Tower Grove South and Shaw neighborhoods. Over the past month, she said she's picked up more than 20 raccoons, all which tested positive for distemper.

"It spreads and spreads and spreads, so every raccoon that I'm picking up means that there's more in the neighborhood that are not being reported or they're going around unvaccinated dogs who get it, then they can spread it," she said.

King said she's tried to report the problem to the city but keeps getting the runaround, that's why she's taking the problem in her own hands and taking the raccoons to her husband's veterinarian clinic to get tested and properly euthanized.

Unvaccinated dogs and cats can get distemper.

Distemper spreads through saliva. Raccoons with it become zombie-like and will have mucus on their nose and eyes.

If you live in the City of St. Louis and see a raccoon you think may have distemper, you can report it to the Citizen's Service Bureau. Otherwise, the Department of Conservation suggests leaving the animal alone and let nature take its course.​

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