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Canine Distemper Virus (CDV). Canine & feline management 5 th Period Dr. Brahmbhatt July 15, 2011 Cameo Bua Kaitie Johnson. Canine Distemper Virus Etiology.

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canine distemper virus cdv

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)

Canine & feline management

5th Period

Dr. Brahmbhatt

July 15, 2011

Cameo Bua

Kaitie Johnson

Canine Distemper Virus

  • CDV is a highly contagious viral infection caused by an enveloped, single stranded RNA virus, of the family Paramyxoviridae, which is closely related to the measles and rinderpest.
  • Paramyxovirus: a genus of viruses that cause respiratory infections in a variety of vertebrate hosts.
      • Included: Mumps and Para influenza viruses.
  • The virus initially replicates in the lymphatic tissue of the respiratory tract, followed by infection of GI, urogenital, CNS, and optic nerves. Disease follows in these affected tissues. (1)
disease history
Disease History

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) 1700-1990




Ferrets Died of




Report Case.












1st Case.


Northern Canadian

Wolves Diseased





disease history 2
Disease History (2)
  • 1740:The French first reported animals found with distemper, soon after the discovery of America.
  • 1760: Cases reported in England.
  • 1770:Cases reported in Russia.
  • 1905:First reported incidence in America.
  • 1950:Vaccine for canine distemper created.
  • 1974:Serological discovery of CDV in northern Canada wolves.
    • Serological: the science that deals with serums, particularly blood serum.
  • 1985:6 ferrets were brought into captivity, and soon after all died as a result of CDV. Another 6, later brought in, were vaccinated, quarantined, and determined to be free of disease.
  • Canine distemper virus infects dogs & other mammals, including ferrets, raccoons, skunks, & foxes. (7)
  • Dogs of all ages are at risk of infection if not previously immunized, although infection is most common in puppies under 16 weeks of age and older dogs.
  • Domestic cats are not at risk of catching the disease, but large felids, such as lions, can catch the virus. (3)
  • A healthy animal may contract canine distemper from direct contact with or aerosol droplets from an infected animal or its’ bodily secretions/waste.(7)
  • It can survive outside of the body for up to 3 hours at room temperature, and for as little as 30 minutes in 60˚F weather.
  • It can survive for years if kept frozen and out of light.
  • CDV has not been shown to pose a risk to humans.(4)
clinical signs 4
Clinical Signs (4)
  • Respiratory
    • Nasal & Ocular Discharge
    • Coughing
    • Dyspnea
    • Pneumonia
  • Gastrointestinal (GI)
    • Anorexia
    • Vomiting
    • “Distemper Teeth”
    • Diarrhea (May be bloody)
  • Dermatological
    • Abdominal Pustules
    • Nasal & Digital Hyperkaratosis
  • Ocular
    • Anterior Uveitis
    • (Inflammation of the front chamber of the eye; may cause the cornea to appear cloudy and/or cause changes in the appearance of the virus.)
    • KeratoconjunctivitisSicca
    • Optic Neuritis
    • Retinal Degeneration
  • Neurological
    • “Chewing Gum” Seizures
    • Weakness or Paralysis
    • Loss of Balance
    • Muscle Twitching
    • Hypersensitivity
    • Neck Pain
    • Behavioral Changes
clinical signs
Clinical Signs
  • Clinical signs vary, depending on the virus strain, environmental conditions, and hosts’ age & immune status.(5)
  • Symptoms of the disease are similar to that of a rabid animal, and are mostly the same in all susceptible species.(7)
  • Other clinical signs include:
    • Diphasic fever
      • Diphasic: having two phases.
    • Lethargy
    • Ataxia
      • Ataxia: loss of coordination of the muscles, especially of the extremities.
clinical signs1
Clinical Signs
  • Nasal & Digital Hyperkeratosis
  • -often found in dogs with neurological manifestations.(1)
  • Distemper Teeth
    • -the pitted, discolored teeth that may result
    • when young dogs are infected with distemper
    • virus prior to the eruption of their permanent
    • teeth.
diagnostic tests expected results
Diagnostic Tests – Expected Results

Fair to Poor

Good to Fair, Possible False Positives.

Good, Possible False Positives.

Good to Poor(3)

>90% Sensitivity & Specificity(6)

  • IFA for viral antigen or inclusion bodies in cells from conjunctival scrape, urine sediment, buffy coat.
  • PCR of nasal or ocular discharge.
  • Serum lgM or rising serum lgG.
  • CSF antibody detection.
  • IDEXX RealPCR™
recommended treatment 3
Recommended Treatment(3)
  • No specific treatment for distemper has been proven effective.
  • “Treatment” consists of supportive care, and may include:
    • fluid support; nutritional support & anti-emetic therapy for vomiting & prolonged anorexia; nebulization & coupage for pneumonia; antibiotics for secondary bacterial infection.
    • Vitamin B supplementation has been recommended & vitamin A supplementation may be helpful early in the course of the illness.
    • Seizures may need to be controlled with anti-seizure


prognosis 1
  • Prognosis depends on the strain of CDV and the dog’s immune response. Dogs may recover completely with good nursing care, but despite intensive care, some dogs do not make a satisfactory recovery.
  • Unfortunately, treatment for acute neurological manifestations of distemper is unsuccessful. If neurologic signs are progressive or severe the owner should be appropriately advised, warned that neurological signs can develop weeks to years after infection, and the prognosis for dogs with worsening neurological signs is poor.
  • Even if the dog survives, neurological damage is often permanent.
  • Once a dog has fully recovered, it no longer sheds the virus & is not contagious.
pathologic lesions of disease
Pathologic Lesions of Disease
  • Lung lesion in an African Wild Dog
  • Viral inclusion bodies
  • (darker spots in the clear shapes)
  • (longer arrows are touching them)
  • • Inclusion bodies are actual clumps of the virus, that are visible under the microscope, within infected cells.(4)
  • The only prevention is following a good vaccine program, and keeping the pet up-to-date on all vaccines.
  • An effective CD vaccination has been available since the 1950’s. The canine distemper MLV (modified live virus) vaccine is the basic immunization for dogs. It is generally combined with vaccines for canine parvovirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus-2, leptospirosis, & sometimes coronavirus.
  • Puppies are vaccinated beginning at 6 to 8 weeks old, and then every 2 to 4 weeks thereafter until they are 16 weeks old. The next vaccine is given one year later, and vaccination boosters are given every 1 to 3 years after that based on your veterinarians recommendation.(4)
client education
Client Education
  • Inform the client that a good vaccination program is the only prevention for all dogs.
  • If neurologic signs are present, the prognosis is uncertain – and usually limited.
  • The most common cause of seizures in puppies younger than 6 months is CDV.
  • After the actual infection, neurologic signs may appear within weeks to years, and last even after/if the disease is survived.(8)
  • "Canine Distemper: Introduction." The Merck Veterinary Manual. Web. 14 July 2011. <>.
  • "Canine Distemper Timeline." Google - Timeline. Web. <,tll:1800,tlh:1999&prmd=ivns&ei=-nEfTtPYGOXx0gHK6I3cAw&ved=0CDMQyQEoCg&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=b55e422e14032f58&biw=1920&bih=1007>.
  • "Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) | UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program." The UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program | UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Web. 14 July 2011. <>.
  • "Distemper - The Pet Health Care Library." 01 VeterinaryPartner Home Page - - a VIN Company! Web. 14 July 2011. <>.
references cont
References, (cont.)
  • Nelson, Richard W., and C. Guillermo. Couto. "Canine Distemper Virus: Chapter 71, Part IX." Small Animal Internal Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Mosby/Elsevier, 2009. 1015-016. Print.
  • New: IDEXX RealPCR (CRD) Panel from IDEXX Reference Laboratories. IDEXX Laboratories, Oct. 2007. Web. 06 July 2011. <>.
  • "Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency - Canine Distemper." Web. 14 July 2011. <>.
  • Summers, Alleice. "Canine Distemper: Chapter 9, Section 1." Common Diseases of Companion Animals. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby, 2007. 238-39. Print.