The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is investigating the death of seven desert kit foxes from canine distemper in eastern Riverside County (which is in the southeastern part of the state, inland of Los Angeles, abutting Arizona) according to its own press release. (Read it here.)
Sometimes canine distemper cycles through wild canine populations, and sometimes dogs pass the infection along, the press release reminds us.
Generally, the death of such a small number of animals is not notable, but what I really like about the press release is the detail given about the methodology of the follow-up study — in which researchers tagged 39 foxes and collared 12.
A few more details, about the susceptibility of various canine species to distemper is found in a ProMED announcement.