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Infection with Aleutian disease virus-like virus in a captive striped skunk

Matthew C. Allender DVM, MS1, Juergen Schumacher Dr med vet, DACZM2, Kathy V. Thomas PhD3, Stephanie L. McCain DVM4, Edward C. Ramsay DVM, DACZM5, Evan W. James BS6, Annabel G. Wise DVM, PhD7, Roger K. Maes DVM, PhD8, and Danielle Reel DVM9
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 3 Department of Comparative Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 5 Department of Small Animal Clinical Services, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.
  • | 6 Knoxville Zoological Gardens, 3500 Knoxville Zoo Dr, Knoxville, TN 37914.
  • | 7 Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI 48910.
  • | 8 Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI 48910.
  • | 9 Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996.

Abstract

Case Description—A 5-month-old captive female striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) was evaluated because of lethargy, signs of depression, azotemia, and erythema of the skin around the eyes.

Clinical Findings—Antemortem diagnostic tests revealed renal disease but failed to identify an etiologic agent. A diagnosis of severe nonsuppurative interstitial nephritis was made on the basis of results of histologic examination of renal biopsy specimens.

Treatment and Outcome—The skunk was administered isotonic fluids SC daily and later every other day because of the handling-related stress. Because of the skunk's deteriorating condition, it was euthanized after 24 days of supportive care. Aleutian disease was diagnosed on the basis of positive results of a PCR assay that targeted the DNA from Aleutian disease virus (ADV); positive results for ADV were also obtained by use of plasma counterimmunoelectrophoresis and an ELISA. Genetic sequencing of the 365-base pair PCR product revealed 90% sequence identity with mink ADV.

Clinical Relevance—In the skunk of this report, infection with a skunk-specific parvovirus resulted in clinical signs and pathologic changes similar to those associated with ADV infection in mink. For skunks with signs of renal failure, differential diagnoses should include parvovirus infection. In confirmed cases of infection with this ADV-like virus, appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures should be in place to prevent spread to other susceptible animals within a zoological collection.

Abstract

Case Description—A 5-month-old captive female striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) was evaluated because of lethargy, signs of depression, azotemia, and erythema of the skin around the eyes.

Clinical Findings—Antemortem diagnostic tests revealed renal disease but failed to identify an etiologic agent. A diagnosis of severe nonsuppurative interstitial nephritis was made on the basis of results of histologic examination of renal biopsy specimens.

Treatment and Outcome—The skunk was administered isotonic fluids SC daily and later every other day because of the handling-related stress. Because of the skunk's deteriorating condition, it was euthanized after 24 days of supportive care. Aleutian disease was diagnosed on the basis of positive results of a PCR assay that targeted the DNA from Aleutian disease virus (ADV); positive results for ADV were also obtained by use of plasma counterimmunoelectrophoresis and an ELISA. Genetic sequencing of the 365-base pair PCR product revealed 90% sequence identity with mink ADV.

Clinical Relevance—In the skunk of this report, infection with a skunk-specific parvovirus resulted in clinical signs and pathologic changes similar to those associated with ADV infection in mink. For skunks with signs of renal failure, differential diagnoses should include parvovirus infection. In confirmed cases of infection with this ADV-like virus, appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures should be in place to prevent spread to other susceptible animals within a zoological collection.

Contributor Notes

The authors thank Sherrie Burr and Karmen Bowman and Drs. Marcy Souza, Robert Donnell, Mohamed Abd-Eldaim, and Melissa Kennedy for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Allender.