Canine distemper: latest publications of interest | Vets & Clinics

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Canine distemper: latest publications of interest

Canine distemper is caused by a Morbillivirus belonging to the Paramyxoviridae family. The virus uses lymphoid tissue as a medium for its replication. Infected animals suffer severe immunosuppression.

This post summarises the latest publications of interest into canine distemper. We hope it will be useful.

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1. Detection of canine distemper virus by reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR in the urine of dogs with clinical signs of distemper encephalitis. Saito TB et al. Res Vet Sci. 3 May, 2005

A prospective study to evaluate the use of RT-PCR in urine samples to diagnose distemper in dogs with progressive neurological injury.

Urine samples obtained from 22 dogs were used to isolate and amplify a nucleoprotein gene of the canine distemper virus.

Leukocytes and body fluids from 12 asymptomatic dogs were also analysed using the same technique, all of which were negative.

The authors concluded that RT-PCR is more sensitive in urine samples than in leukocytes or serum, but equally sensitive in CSF samples. RT-PCR may therefore be used to screen for distemper in symptomatic dogs.

2. Interstitial pneumonia in neonatal canine pups with evidence of canine distemper virus infection. K. Pandher et al. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest 18 (2):201-204, 2006.

Four dead puppies, which lived in animal shelters, aged between 5 and 12 days underwent necropsy. The four puppies were taken to clinics for respiratory signs with or without associated diarrhoea.

The necropsies revealed similar findings in all four subjects, namely, lung lesions consistent with subacute interstitial pneumonia. Reverse transcriptase-PCR confirmed that three subjects were canine distemper virus (CDV) positive.

Immunohistochemical analysis of lung tissue indicated the four pups were CDV-positive in the bronchi, bronchial cells and alveolar macrophages.

None of the subjects presented any central nervous system damage.

In conclusion, canine distemper should be considered in the differential diagnosis of respiratory tract diseases in newborn puppies, despite the absence of neurological clinical signs.

3. Atypical necrotizing encephalitis associated with systemic canine distemper virus infection in pupsAmude AM et al. J Vet Sci. 2011 Dec;12(4):409-12

This study focused on a rare neuropathological manifestation of distemper virus in two 16-day-old Pit Bull pups.

Canine distemper virus caused changes in the grey and white matter of the brain, but only in the anterior region as the posterior brain regions remained unaffected.

Pathological studies identified necrosis, including destruction of nerve parenchyma with a significant inflammatory component and clusters of reactive cells. Eosinophilic inclusion bodies were observed within glial cell nuclei.

Immunohistochemistry was positive for CDV antigens in astrocytes and neurons. RT-PCR was used to amplify CDV-specific amplicons in different brain fragments.

These results indicate that CDV is involved in the aetiopathogenesis of the aforementioned brain lesions.

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