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Serologic evaluation, efficacy, and safety of a commercial modified-live canine distemper vaccine in domestic ferrets

Jeffrey WimsattDepartment of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences , Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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 DVM, PhD
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Michele T. JayState Diagnostic Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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Kim E. InnesDepartment of Preventive Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, University of Colorado Hospital, University of Colorado, Denver, CO 80262.

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Michael JessenState Diagnostic Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

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James K. CollinsState Diagnostic Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
Present address is Department of Veterinary Sciences and Microbiology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0090.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine efficacy and safety of a commercial modified-live canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccine used for prophylaxis in domestic ferrets.

Animals—Sixteen 16-week-old neutered male ferrets.

Procedures— Equal groups of ferrets were inoculated subcutaneously at 16 and 20 weeks of age with saline (0.9% NaCl) solution or a vaccine derived from the Onderstepoort CDV strain and attenuated in a primate cell line. Live virulent CDV was administered to all ferrets intranasally and orally 3 weeks after the second inoculation. Clinical signs and body weights were monitored regularly during the study. Blood samples for serologic examination were drawn prior to each inoculation, before challenge exposure, and 10, 15, and 21 days after exposure. Blood samples for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were obtained 5 days after the first vaccination, and 5, 10, 15, and 21 days after challenge exposure.

Results—After challenge exposure, control ferrets had significantly more clinical signs and weight loss, compared with vaccinates. All vaccinated ferrets survived, whereas all control ferrets died. The RT-PCR assay was successful in detecting CDV in blood and fresh or formalin-fixed tissues from infected ferrets.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that the vaccine when given SC to domestic ferrets as directed is safe and protective against challenge exposure with virulent CDV. The RT-PCR assay may simplify detection of CDV in fresh and fixed tissues. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:736–740)

Abstract

Objective—To determine efficacy and safety of a commercial modified-live canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccine used for prophylaxis in domestic ferrets.

Animals—Sixteen 16-week-old neutered male ferrets.

Procedures— Equal groups of ferrets were inoculated subcutaneously at 16 and 20 weeks of age with saline (0.9% NaCl) solution or a vaccine derived from the Onderstepoort CDV strain and attenuated in a primate cell line. Live virulent CDV was administered to all ferrets intranasally and orally 3 weeks after the second inoculation. Clinical signs and body weights were monitored regularly during the study. Blood samples for serologic examination were drawn prior to each inoculation, before challenge exposure, and 10, 15, and 21 days after exposure. Blood samples for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were obtained 5 days after the first vaccination, and 5, 10, 15, and 21 days after challenge exposure.

Results—After challenge exposure, control ferrets had significantly more clinical signs and weight loss, compared with vaccinates. All vaccinated ferrets survived, whereas all control ferrets died. The RT-PCR assay was successful in detecting CDV in blood and fresh or formalin-fixed tissues from infected ferrets.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Findings suggest that the vaccine when given SC to domestic ferrets as directed is safe and protective against challenge exposure with virulent CDV. The RT-PCR assay may simplify detection of CDV in fresh and fixed tissues. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:736–740)