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Assessment of serum antibody titers against canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type II, and canine parvovirus in Alaskan sled dogs before and after a long-distance race

Heidi E. BanseDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164

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Erica C. McKenzieDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331

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Stuart Nelson JrIditarod Trail Committee, Mile 2.2 Knik Goose Bay Rd, Wasilla, AK 99654

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Kenneth W. HinchcliffDepartment of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210

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Abstract

Objective—To determine serum antibody titers against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type II (CAV-2), and canine parvovirus (CPV) in trained sled dogs prior to and after completion of a long-distance race.

Design—Prospective cohort study.

Animals—195 Alaskan sled dogs (from 18 kennels) that participated in the 2006 Iditarod Trail Race.

Procedures—All 1,323 dogs participating in the race had been vaccinated against the 3 viruses at 19 to 286 days prior to initial blood sample collection (obtained within the month preceding the race). Within 12 hours of race completion, blood samples were collected from 195 dogs (convenience sample) and matched with each dog's prerace sample. Serum antibody titers (90% confidence intervals [CIs]) were determined via serum neutralization assays.

Results—After racing, geometric mean titers against CDV and CPV were significantly higher (2,495 [90% CI, 321 to 16,384] and 6,323 [90% CI, 512 to 32,768], respectively) than prerace values (82 [90% CI, 11 to 362] and 166 [90% CI, 32 to 1,024], respectively). Sixty-one of 194 (31.4%) dogs had t 4-fold increases in anti-CPV antibody titers after racing. Prerace serum antibody titers against CDV, CPV, and CAV-2 varied significantly by sled team but were not associated with time since vaccination.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Postrace increases in serum anti-CDV and anti-CPV antibody titer might reflect exposure of dogs to these agents immediately before or during racing. Dogs had no clinical signs of CDV-, CAV-2-, or CPV-associated disease; therefore, the clinical importance of these titer changes is uncertain.

Abstract

Objective—To determine serum antibody titers against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type II (CAV-2), and canine parvovirus (CPV) in trained sled dogs prior to and after completion of a long-distance race.

Design—Prospective cohort study.

Animals—195 Alaskan sled dogs (from 18 kennels) that participated in the 2006 Iditarod Trail Race.

Procedures—All 1,323 dogs participating in the race had been vaccinated against the 3 viruses at 19 to 286 days prior to initial blood sample collection (obtained within the month preceding the race). Within 12 hours of race completion, blood samples were collected from 195 dogs (convenience sample) and matched with each dog's prerace sample. Serum antibody titers (90% confidence intervals [CIs]) were determined via serum neutralization assays.

Results—After racing, geometric mean titers against CDV and CPV were significantly higher (2,495 [90% CI, 321 to 16,384] and 6,323 [90% CI, 512 to 32,768], respectively) than prerace values (82 [90% CI, 11 to 362] and 166 [90% CI, 32 to 1,024], respectively). Sixty-one of 194 (31.4%) dogs had t 4-fold increases in anti-CPV antibody titers after racing. Prerace serum antibody titers against CDV, CPV, and CAV-2 varied significantly by sled team but were not associated with time since vaccination.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Postrace increases in serum anti-CDV and anti-CPV antibody titer might reflect exposure of dogs to these agents immediately before or during racing. Dogs had no clinical signs of CDV-, CAV-2-, or CPV-associated disease; therefore, the clinical importance of these titer changes is uncertain.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Banse's present address is the Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.

Dr. Hinchcliff's present address is Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Melbourne, Princes Hwy, Werribee, VIC 3030, Australia.

This study was supported in part by Fort Dodge Animal Health and the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association.

The authors thank Jan Bullock, Michelle Fleetwood, Paul Pifer, and Mike Walker for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. McKenzie.