Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Canine distemper

Synonym(s): Canine distemper virus, CDV

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, David Perpinan

Introduction

  • Acute viral disease affecting mainly the respiratory system, nervous system and skin. It produces severe symptomatology with high mortality. Usually involves a skin rash and/or hyperkeratosis.
  • This is a devastating disease in ferrets, and was first described by use of ferrets in characterizing the disease and designing vaccines for dogs.
  • Cause: canine distemper virus (CDV).
  • Signs: conjunctivitis, skin rash, anorexia, fever, rhinitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, melena, myoclonus, paresis, muscle tremors, hyperexcitability, hyperkeratosis on foot pads.
  • Diagnosis: PCR, ELISA, biopsy and histopathology.
  • Treatment: broad spectrum antibiotics, vitamin A/C supplementation, hyperimmune serum against CDV, vaccination, interferon, meloxicam, famotidine, diphenhydramine, buprenorphine, supportive and symptomatic treatment.
  • Prognosis: guarded to poor.
Print off the Owner Factsheet on Canine Distemper Virus to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Canine distemper virus (CDV), an RNA virus from the genus Morbillivirus in the family Paramyxoviridae.
  • It affects mustelids and other carnivores including some Felidae.
  • The severity of the disease depends on the viral strain and immunocompetence of the host.
  • Some strains produce neurologic disease with high mortality rates while others only produce pneumonia with lower death rates.

Timecourse

  • Shedding begins about 7 days after exposure
  • CDV has a catarrhal phase (7-10 days post infection) and a CNS phase (may or may not be preceded by the catarrhal phase).
  • Death from ferret strains of CDV occurs in 12-16 days.

Epidemiology

  • Non-immunized ferrets are at risk for disease if exposed to CDV-infected dogs or wild carnivores.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Perpiñán D, Ramis A, Tomás A, Carpintero E & Bargalló F (2008) Outbreak of natural canine distemper in domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo). Vet Rec 163 (8), 246-250 PubMed.
  • Kendrick R E (2000) Ferret respiratory diseases. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 3 (2), 453-464 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Kiupel M & Perpiñán D (2014) Viral Diseases. In: Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Eds: Fox J G & Marini R P. Wiley Blackwell, Danvers, USA. pp 439-517.
  • Barron H W & Rosenthal K L (2012) Respiratory Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W.  Elsevier Saunders, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. pp 78-85.
  • Orcutt C & Tater K (2012) Dermatologic Diseases. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents, Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier, St. Louis, MO, USA. pp 122-131.
  • Lewis W (2009) Ferrets: Nervous and Musculoskeletal Disorders. In: BSAVA Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble E & Meredith A. BSAVA, Quedgely, UK. pp 303-310.
  • Lewington J H (2007) Viral, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases. In: Ferret Husbandry, Medicine and Surgery. 2nd edn. Ed: Lewington J H. Saunders Elsevier, Philadelpha, USA. pp 169-202.
  • Paterson S (2006) Skin Diseases and Treatment of Ferrets. In: Skin Diseases of Exotic Pets.  Ed: Paterson S. Blackwell Science Ltd, Oxford, UK. pp 204-220.


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