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Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the humoral immune response of Asian elephants to a primary IM vaccination with either 1 or 2 doses of a commercially available inactivated rabies virus vaccine and evaluate the anamnestic response to a 1-dose booster vaccination.

Animals—16 captive Asian elephants.

Procedures—Elephants with no known prior rabies vaccinations were assigned into 2 treatment groups of 8 elephants; 1 group received 1 dose of vaccine, and the other group received 2 doses of vaccine 9 days apart. All elephants received one or two 4-mL IM injections of a monovalent inactivated rabies virus vaccine. Blood was collected prior to vaccination (day 0) and on days 9, 35, 112, and 344. All elephants received 1 booster dose of vaccine on day 344, and a final blood sample was taken 40 days later (day 384). Serum was tested for rabies virus–neutralizing antibodies by use of the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test.

Results—All elephants were seronegative prior to vaccination. There were significant differences in the rabies geometric mean titers between the 2 elephant groups at days 35, 112, and 202. Both groups had a strong anamnestic response 40 days after the booster given at day 344.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirmed the ability of Asian elephants to develop a humoral immune response after vaccination with a commercially available monovalent inactivated rabies virus vaccine and the feasibility of instituting a rabies virus vaccination program for elephants that are in frequent contact with humans. A 2-dose series of rabies virus vaccine should provide an adequate antibody response in elephants, and annual boosters should maintain the antibody response in this species.

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective

To determine susceptibility, incubation and morbidity periods, clinical signs of infection, serologic response, and excretion of virus in domestic ferrets inoculated with rabies virus of raccoon origin.

Animals

54 domestic ferrets.

Procedure

5 groups of ferrets were inoculated IM with the rabies virus. Oral cavity swab specimens and saliva were obtained for virus isolation. Blood was obtained for virus-neutralizing antibody determination. If clinical signs were severe, ferrets were euthanatized immediately. Salivary gland and brain tissue was collected for virus isolation and rabies diagnosis, respectively.

Results

Of 51 inoculated ferrets, 19 (37%) were euthanatized with clinical signs of rabies. Mean incubation period was 28 days (range, 17 to 63 days). Clinical signs included ataxia, cachexia, inactivity, paresis, paraparesis, bladder atony, tremors, hypothermia, lethargy, constipation, paralysis, and anorexia. Two rabid ferrets manifested aggressive behavior. Mean morbidity period was 4 to 5 days (range, 1 to 8 days). Virus antigen was detected in brain tissue from all rabid ferrets (n = 19). Two rabid ferrets had detectable virus-neutralizing antibody. Of 32 ferrets that survived, only 1 seroconverted; survivors remained clinically normal throughout the observation period. Rabies virus was isolated from salivary glands of 12 of 19 (63%) rabid ferrets, and 9 (47%) shed virus in saliva. Initiation of virus excretion ranged from 2 days before onset of illness to 6 days after onset.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Rabies should be considered in the differential diagnosis for ferrets that have acute onset of paralysis or behavioral changes and a condition that rapidly deteriorates despite intense medical intervention. (Am J Vet Res 1998;59:1629-1632)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

SUMMARY

Objective

To determine susceptibility, incubation and morbidity periods, clinical signs, serologic response, and excretion of virus in domestic ferrets inoculated with rabies virus.

Animals

55 domestic ferrets.

Procedure

5 groups of 10 ferrets were inoculated with rabies virus, IM, at doses of 105.5 to 101.5 median mouse intracerebral lethal dose. Ferrets were observed and behavior was recorded. Rectal temperature, body weight, and samples from the oral cavity and samples of saliva and blood were obtained. Virus isolation was attempted, using intracranial mouse inoculation and cell culture. Virus neutralizing antibodies were determined by rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test. Ferrets were euthanatized immediately if clinical signs were severe. Rabies was confirmed by direct immunofluorescent antibody test.

Results

Mean incubation period was 33 days (range, 16 to 96 days). Clinical signs included ascending paralysis, ataxia, cachexia, bladder atony, fever, hyperactivity, tremors, and paresthesia. Mean morbidity period was 4 to 5 days (range, 2 to 10 days). Virus antigen was detected in brain tissue from all clinically rabid ferrets. Ferrets given the highest viral dose were euthanatized and had VNA; ferrets receiving the next dilution also were euthanatized, but only 4 had seroconverted. Of 17 ferrets that survived, 5 seroconverted. Survivors remained clinically normal except for 1 that recovered with severe paralytic sequelae. Rabies virus was isolated from the salivary gland of 1 ferret that was euthanatized.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Rabies should be considered as a differential diagnosis in any ferret that has acute onset of paralysis or behavioral changes and a condition that rapidly deteriorates despite intense medical intervention. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:1327–1331)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research