SACRAMENTO (AP) - California authorities are warning pet owners of an unusually high number of canine distemper virus cases in wildlife populations statewide.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife says unvaccinated domestic dogs can contract the disease through contact with food or water bowls that infected wildlife can access.
Canine distemper virus can infect a wide range of carnivores but gray foxes, raccoons and skunks are the most commonly affected species.
Fish and Wildlife officials said pet owners should be vigilant about keeping their animals from coming into contact with wildlife.
Distemper can cause respiratory, neurologic and gastrointestinal illness.