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  • Author or Editor: Keith H. West x
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Objective—To characterize clinical signs and lesions and identify the etiologic agent associated with epizootic catarrhal enteritis in domestic ferrets.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—119 ferrets with epizootic diarrhea of presumed viral cause and 5 control ferrets.

Procedure—Clinical records and biopsy or necropsy specimens of ferrets with presumed epizootic catarrhal enteritis were reviewed. Immunohistochemical staining for coronavirus antigen was performed on paraffin-embedded tissues from approximately 10% of affected ferrets to identify viral antigen and determine its distribution. Transmission electron microscopy was performed on fecal samples and sections of jejunum. Virus isolation studies as well as immunofluorescent tests for other similar viruses were performed.

Results—Characteristic microscopic lesions consistent with intestinal coronavirus infection (vacuolar degeneration and necrosis of villus enterocytes; villus atrophy, fusion, and blunting; and lymphocytic enteritis) were consistently detected in affected ferrets. Coronavirus particles were identified in feces and jejunal enterocytes by use of transmission electron microscopy. Immunohistochemical staining of jejunal sections revealed coronavirus antigens. Antigen staining was not detected in healthy ferrets or ferrets with other gastrointestinal tract diseases. Virus isolation was unsuccessful, and other similar viruses were not detected.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results strongly implicate a coronavirus as the causative agent of epizootic catarrhal enteritis in ferrets. Diagnosis may be made on the basis of a combination of historical, clinical, and microscopic findings. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217:526–530)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine comparative efficacy of vaccines administered IM and intranasally, used alone or sequentially, to protect puppies from infection with Bordetella bronchiseptica and determine whether systemic or mucosal antibody response correlated with protection.

Design—Randomized controlled trial.

Animals—50 specific-pathogen-free Beagle puppies.

Procedure—In 2 replicates of 25 dogs each, 14-weekold puppies that were vaccinated against canine distemper virus and parvovirus were vaccinated against B bronchiseptica via intranasal, IM, intranasal-IM, or IMintranasal administration or were unvaccinated controls. Puppies were challenge exposed via aerosol administration of B bronchiseptica 2 weeks after final vaccination. Clinical variables and systemic and mucosal antibody responses were monitored for 10 days after challenge exposure. Puppies in replicate 1 were necropsied for histologic and immunohistochemical studies.

Results—Control puppies that were seronegative before challenge exposure developed paroxysmal coughing, signs of depression, anorexia, and fever. Vaccinated puppies (either vaccine) that were seronegative before challenge exposure had fewer clinical signs. Puppies that received both vaccines had the least severe clinical signs and fewest lesions in the respiratory tract. Vaccinated dogs had significantly higher concentrations of B bronchiseptica-reactive antibodies in serum saliva before and after challenge. Antibody concentrations were negatively correlated with bacterial growth in nasal cavity and pharyngeal samples after challenge exposure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Parenterally and intranasally administered vaccines containing B bronchiseptica may provide substantial protection from clinical signs of respiratory tract disease associated with infection by this bacterium. Administration of both types of vaccines in sequence afforded the greatest degree of protection against disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:367–375)

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association