An unusual presentation of canine distemper virus infection in a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo).
ABSTRACT A 4.5-year-old, male castrated ferret was examined with a 27-day history of severe pruritus, generalized erythema and scaling. Skin scrapings and a trichogram were negative for mites and dermatophyte organisms. A fungal culture of hair samples was negative. The ferret was treated presumptively for scabies and secondary bacterial and yeast infection with selamectin, enrofloxacin, fluconazole, diphenhydramine and a miconazole-chlorhexidine shampoo. The ferret showed mild improvement in clinical signs over the subsequent 3 weeks, but was inappetent and required supportive feeding and subcutaneous fluids by the owner. The ferret was then examined on an emergency basis at the end of 3 weeks (53 days following initial signs of illness) for severe blood loss from a haematoma over the interscapular region, hypotension and shock. The owners elected euthanasia due to a poor prognosis and deteriorating condition. On post-mortem examination intraepithelial canine distemper viral inclusions were identified systemically, and abundant canine distemper virus antigen was identified with immunohistochemical staining. It is important to note the prolonged course of disease along with the absence of respiratory and neurological signs because this differs from the classic presentation of canine distemper virus infection in ferrets. Canine distemper virus should remain a clinical suspicion for ferrets with skin lesions that do not respond to appropriate therapy, even in animals that were previously vaccinated.
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ABSTRACT: To determine efficacy and safety of a commercial modified-live canine distemper virus (CDV) vaccine used for prophylaxis in domestic ferrets. Sixteen 16-week-old neutered male ferrets. 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. 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. 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.American Journal of Veterinary Research 06/2001; 62(5):736-40.
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ABSTRACT: Canine distemper virus (CDV) infection of ferrets causes a disease characterized by fever, erythema, conjunctivitis and leukocytopenia, similar clinically to measles except for the fatal neurologic sequelae of CDV. We vaccinated juvenile ferrets twice at 4-week intervals by the intranasal or intraduodenal route with attenuated vaccinia (NYVAC) or canarypox virus (ALVAC) constructs containing the CDV hemagglutinin and fusion genes. Controls were vaccinated with the same vectors expressing rabies glycoprotein. Animals were challenged intranasally 4 weeks after the second vaccination with virulent CDV. Body weights, white blood cell (WBC) counts and temperatures were monitored and ferrets were observed daily for clinical signs of infection. WBCs were assayed for the presence of viral RNA by RT-PCR. Intranasally vaccinated animals survived challenge with no virologic or clinical evidence of infection. Vaccination by the intraduodenal route did not provide complete protection. All control animals developed typical distemper. Ferrets can be effectively protected against distemper by mucosal vaccination with poxvirus vaccines.Vaccine 02/1999; 17(4):308-18. DOI:10.1016/S0264-410X(98)00211-4
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ABSTRACT: Clinical signs and follow-up information were recorded. Histopathologic diagnoses were obtained for 25 adrenal glands in 21 ferrets. Adrenal lesions included ten adenocarcinomas, nine adenomas, one hyperplasia and one cortical cyst. Four adrenal glands (all right-sided) were diagnosed as unspecified adrenal tumors but lacked a definite histopathologic diagnosis (adenoma vs. adenocarcinoma) due to incomplete surgical resection and consequent small sample sizes. Bilateral adrenal lesions were identified in 4 ferrets (19%). Adrenal shape, size, echogenicity, laterality, and the presence of vascular invasion were evaluated with ultrasound. Size and shape were variable and not specific to lesion type. Both benign and malignant adrenal tumors (adenomas, adenocarcinomas) appeared most often as masses with increased thickness and a normal length (11/23), less frequently as larger masses with increased thickness and length (4/23) or as nodules focally deforming the normal adrenal shape (6/23). The only cortical cyst appeared as a nodule. Three adrenal glands had a normal size and shape and were diagnosed as adenomas (2) or hyperplasia (1). Therefore treatment may be warranted based solely on clinical signs if adrenal glands are ultrasonographically normal. Vascular invasion was not identified ultrasonographically. However, focal absence of periglandular fat resulting in contact of 8 adrenal glands with either caudal vena cava (6), aorta (1) or liver (1) identified ultrasonographically, correlated with incomplete surgical resectability (6/8) and histopathologic diagnoses of carcinoma (4/8) or unspecified tumors (4/8). Therefore, a focal absence of periglandular fat between the adrenal gland and the large vessels or liver, deviation or compression of the large vessels by the adrenal lesion may indicate malignancy. Adrenal tumors (benign and malignant) were often associated with a prominent uterus, uterine stump or prostate with or without prostatic cysts.Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 07/2000; 41(4):345-52. DOI:10.1111/j.1740-8261.2000.tb02086.x