Provincial officials are warning dog owners to have their pets vaccinated and keep them far away from wildlife after a suspected canine distemper outbreak.

Manitoba Conservation said there have been a number of reports of raccoons showing symptoms of the virus in Winnipeg and Headingley.

The virus is easily spread from raccoons to dogs, provincial officials said. Dogs that become infected see their motor skills and mental abilities progressively deteriorate.

To keep pets safe the provincial officials are advising vaccinating your dog against canine distemper and preventing any contact between dogs and wildlife.

Conservation said the reports are coming from areas with high raccoon populations including along both the Red and Assiniboine rivers and in the Corydon area.

Anyone who sees a raccoon who looks like it may be affected – with crusted eyes, mucus in its nose and acting lethargic of disoriented – are asked to call Manitoba Conservation at 945-5221.