“If you feed your pet outside, make sure you bring the leftover food back inside because that will attract a lot of wild animals, which will spread the disease,” Gregoire said.
Gregoire emphasized distemper is a commonly occurring illness in the wild and its presence in Amesbury isn’t cause for alarm. The virus ordinarily peaks in early spring each year, and residents should just be aware of it and take all necessary precautions to protect their pets.
“As it starts to get warmer, it’ll become less of an occurrence,” Gregoire said. “But now it’s mating season and with feeding habits, it’s transmitted through respiration and other fluids, so that’s how it’s being contracted.”
If a resident suspects that their pet has been infected, they should contact their veterinarian immediately, Gregoire said. Similarly, residents who encounter a wild animal in an obvious state of illness should immediately contact the Amesbury Police Department at 978-388-1212 to reach animal control officials.