CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) – Dog owners are being warned about a deadly virus that’s been found in southern New Hampshire and the Upper Connecticut River Valley.

The New Hampshire Fish & Game Department says multiple dead gray foxes in the area have displayed symptoms of canine distemper.

The disease is often fatal to animals once infected; it cannot be passed to humans. There is a feline distemper virus that affects cats, but it is unrelated to canine distemper.

Officials say canine distemper is spread when animals interact with each other. It can be found in foxes, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, mink weasel, fisher and otter.

Wild animals with canine distemper may appear tame and confused, and can be seen walking down busy streets in the middle of the day.

Dog owners are urged to get their pet vaccinated against distemper to prevent infection.

“Given the scenario at hand, it is important for owners to discuss distemper vaccination with their veterinarians and monitor pet activity outdoors to prevent interactions with wildlife,” wildlife officials said in a statement. “Anyone who believes their pet may have been exposed to or be suffering from canine distemper should contact their veterinarian.”


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