Five raccoons have had to be euthanized in Point Pleasant Beach after they were found to have canine distemper and it's now affected at least two other Ocean County towns.

Canine Distemper has symptoms similar to rabies, is highly contagious and is spread airborne (by sneezing or coughing) attacking the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Raccoons are one of the animals who are typically found with this virus.

AVMA officials say all dogs are at risk of contracting this disease but puppies younger than four months old are especially at risk as well as any dog who hasn't been vaccinated.

"We received a call from our Animal Control Officer, Muskrat Jack this morning reporting a K-9 distemper epidemic in raccoons," Point Pleasant Beach Police said on Monday. "He has picked up and euthanized 5 raccoons in PPB, in the last week with K-9 distemper, and indicated that it has spread to the Boro and Bay Head."

'Muskrat Jack' is also asking anyone who encounters a raccoon exhibiting this behavior, to call the police immediately so they can dispatch him and as a precaution, make sure that your pets are up to date on all their vaccinations.

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