Veterinarians urge families to vaccinate pets

MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP — Within the last two weeks, both Chocolay and Forsyth Township residents have reported seeing raccoons out during the daylight hours.

Officials in both areas have encouraged residents to make sure their pets vaccinations are up to date. Among the diseases associated with raccoons is distemper. It’s a disease that’s in both dogs and cats. Family pets can get distemper from interactions with wild animals, such as raccoons, weasels and skunks. There is no cure for distemper, so prevention is key.

“Vaccines are very important in our practice,” said Kellie Holmstrom, D.V.M. at Animal Medical Center of Marquette. “Our practice will do 2–4 vaccines in a puppy, renew in a year and then it’s every three years after that. For the cats, it’s a similar situation, a different vaccine. What’s interesting about the virus in the cats is that it can be passed by flies. What you want to do, even if your cat lives inside, we certainly know that those types of insects will come into your house.”

If you have any questions about your pet contracting distemper, Holmstrom advises pet owners to contact their local veterinarian.