Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Ferrets

Interferon

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, David Perpinan

Introduction

Name

  • First discovered by Isaacs and Lindeman in 1957.
  • Two formulations of type I interferon have been used in companion animal medicine:
    • Recombinant human interferon alpha (several commercial products, eg Roferon®, Intron A®) has been used as therapy for a range of feline viral diseases. 
    • Recombinant feline interferon omega is a licensed veterinary product (Virbagen Omega®).

Class of drug

  • Biological.

Description

Chemical name

  • Interferon (type I): interferons a, b, t, and w are classified as Type 1.

Molecular formula

  • Recombinant human interferon alpha, recombinant feline interferon omega.
  • Interferon omega is related to interferon alpha.

Physical properties

  • Prepared in lyophilized form.

Storage requirements

  • Interferon should be stored in the refrigerator.
  • The shelf-life is 2 years.
  • Controversial efficacy after freezing.

Uses

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Indications

  • Interferon alpha may be used as an adjunctive therapy for canine distemper. It has shown good in vitro efficacy.
  • It has also been suggested and used anecdotically to treat cases of systemic ferret coronavirus.
  • While the use of interferon alpha has shown efficacy against flu in ferrets, it is unlikely that its use in clinical practice involves significant benefits.
  • Interferon omega has been used to treat some viral infections in cats and dogs.
  • The use of interferon to treat systemic coronavirus disease of ferrets is completely anecdotal.

Administration

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Pharmacokinetics

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Precautions

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Interactions

with other drugs

  • Virbagen Omega® should not be administered with any other biologicals or vaccines. 
  • Interferon alpha may have synergistic activity with acyclovir, zidovudine and vidarabine.

Adverse Reactions

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Carvalho O V, Saraiva G L, Ferreira C G T et al (2014) In-vitro antiviral efficacy of ribavirin and interferon-alpha against canine distemper virus. Can J Vet Res 78 (4), 283-289 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Addie D (2016) Interferon. In: Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) Treatment. Website: www.dr-addie.com/treatment.htm#Interferon. Last accessed 24th August 2017.
  • Plumb D (2015) Plumb's Veterinary Drug Handbook. 8th edn. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 1296.
  • Fox J G & Marini R P (2014) Eds Biology and Diseases of the Ferret. 3rd edn. Wiley Blackwell, USA. pp 835.
  • Day M J (2002) Immunomodulatory Therapy. Chapter 11, In: Maddison J, Page S & Church D (eds)Small Animal Clinical Pharmacology.  W B Saunders, 2002, pp.233-249.
  • Virbagen Omega (Virbac). Website: www.uk.virbac.com. Last accessed 24th August 2017.

Organisation(s)

  • National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) Compendium of Data Sheets for Animal Medicines. Website: www.noahcompendium.co.uk.

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