Murray State University

Poster Title

Incidence of Canine Distemper Virus and Parainfluenza Virus in Western Kentucky Shelter Dogs: Study 1: (Hogan) Incidence of Canine Distemper in Western Kentucky Animal Shelters

Institution

Murray State University

Abstract

Canine distemper, also known as “hardpad disease,” is a canine viral disease that is caused by a paramyxovirus. This virus primarily attacks the lymphatic tissues of the respiratory system, and symptoms include fever, nasal and ocular discharge, encephalomyelitis, hyperkeratosis of the footpads, and neurological signs including spasms, paralysis, and convulsions. Because this disease is sensitive to disinfectants and is a key part of the core DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvo disease, and para-influenza) vaccine given annually to dogs in most small animal practices, it has not been prevalent for many years. However, recent feedback from veterinary professionals and laboratories (such as Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville, KY) suggests that there has been a reoccurrence of infectious Canine Distemper, especially in shelter dogs. In this study, performed in conjunction with Dominique Peel’s study on Canine Influenza, a randomly selected group of dogs from western Kentucky animal shelters were tested for canine distemper using conjunctival swabs, which were then sent to Breathitt Veterinary Center for diagnostics using a fluorescent antibody test. A group of animals was surveyed from two shelters, and a separate group was surveyed from the same shelters after a time span of two months. The results have important implications for veterinary professionals and local animal shelters, and will allow us to implement a detailed control and prevention plan for the disease. Additionally, a literature study of Canine Distemper and observation at Breathitt Veterinary Center was performed and results were compared to previous studies regarding Infectious Canine Distemper.

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Incidence of Canine Distemper Virus and Parainfluenza Virus in Western Kentucky Shelter Dogs: Study 1: (Hogan) Incidence of Canine Distemper in Western Kentucky Animal Shelters

Canine distemper, also known as “hardpad disease,” is a canine viral disease that is caused by a paramyxovirus. This virus primarily attacks the lymphatic tissues of the respiratory system, and symptoms include fever, nasal and ocular discharge, encephalomyelitis, hyperkeratosis of the footpads, and neurological signs including spasms, paralysis, and convulsions. Because this disease is sensitive to disinfectants and is a key part of the core DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvo disease, and para-influenza) vaccine given annually to dogs in most small animal practices, it has not been prevalent for many years. However, recent feedback from veterinary professionals and laboratories (such as Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville, KY) suggests that there has been a reoccurrence of infectious Canine Distemper, especially in shelter dogs. In this study, performed in conjunction with Dominique Peel’s study on Canine Influenza, a randomly selected group of dogs from western Kentucky animal shelters were tested for canine distemper using conjunctival swabs, which were then sent to Breathitt Veterinary Center for diagnostics using a fluorescent antibody test. A group of animals was surveyed from two shelters, and a separate group was surveyed from the same shelters after a time span of two months. The results have important implications for veterinary professionals and local animal shelters, and will allow us to implement a detailed control and prevention plan for the disease. Additionally, a literature study of Canine Distemper and observation at Breathitt Veterinary Center was performed and results were compared to previous studies regarding Infectious Canine Distemper.