wildlife and zoo assay data sheet
Canine distemper virus (CDV)
S0092 - Ultrasensitive qualitative detection of canine distemper
virus (CDV) by reverse transcription coupled real time polymerase chain
distemper (CD) is a highly contagious disease in young dogs,
particularly those 3 to 6 months of age. It has a high morbidity
and mortality rate. The disease can be spread by aerosol
infection (Appel and Gillespie, 1972) and is characterized by a
diphasic fever curve and acute rhinitis, and later by
bronchitis, catarrhal pneumonia, severe gastroenteritis, and
The causative agent of the disease is a
virus belonging to the genus Morbillivirus of family
Paramyxoviridae. Since the canine distemper virus (CDV) can
survive for a longer period of time in cold conditions, the
disease spreads mainly in winter months. Although the disease is
highly communicable, it is comparatively rare in many developed
countries due to vaccination using the attenuated live virus,
but occasional outbreaks of CDV infection can still occur in
vaccinated populations of dogs. In areas with unvaccinated
populations, CD is extremely widespread.
spectrum of CDV comprises dogs and many other carnivores and
noncarnivores as well as marine mammals. Recently, a possible
link between Paget's disease of bone in humans and CDV infection
was shown by epidemiological studies and was substantiated by
detection of CDV RNA in affected tissues (Gordon, et al., 1992;
O’Driscoll, et al., 1990). CDV is also discussed as a candidate
that might play a role in the initiation of multiple sclerosis (Rohowsky-Kochan,
et al., 1995). Thus prevention of CDV infection in house dogs
may have a direct impact on human safety.
CD in acute or subacute form is usually based on clinical signs
and history in unvaccinated puppies. But it has been difficult
to differentiate CD from other diseases such as kennel cough in
the early stage. Serologic detection of IgM antibody can be
useful, but poses a problem in young puppies due to uncertainty
caused by maternal antibody interference. Definitive diagnosis
can be made through isolation of CDV, or through detection of
CDV in epithelial cells after fluorescent antibody (FA)
staining. However, virus isolation takes several days to weeks
and is frequently not effective in the acute stage of the
infection. In addition, FA testing is successful only during the
first few days of acute signs of distemper.
detection by PCR is the most rapid, sensitive and specific
method for the diagnosis of this infection. It also helps to
eliminate false negative and positive cases.
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Help ensure that animal groups and populations are free of
Early prevention of spread of this virus among a
Minimize human exposure to this virus
Safety monitoring of biological products and vaccines
that derive from susceptible animals
Appel, M. J. G., and Gillespie, J.H.(1972). Canine distemper
virus, p. 1-96. In S. Gard, C. Hallauer, and K. F. Meyer (ed.),
Virology monographs 11. Springer-Verlag, New York, N.Y.
Gordon, M. T., Mee, A.P., Anderson, D.C. and Sharp, P.T. (1992)
Canine distemper virus transcripts sequenced from pagetic bone.
Bone Miner. 19:159-174.
O'Driscoll, J. B., Buckler, H.M.,
Jeacock, J. and Anderson, D.C. (1990) Dogs, distemper and
osteitis deformans: a further epidemiological study. Bone Miner.
Rohowsky-Kochan, C., Dowling, P.C., and Cook,
S.D. (1995) Canine distemper virus-specific antibodies in
multiple sclerosis. Neurology 45:1554-1560.
Nasopharyngeal swab, or 0.2 ml whole blood in EDTA (purple top)
or ACD (yellow top) tube, or 0.2 ml CSF, urine, plasma or serum,
or 0.2 ml fresh or frozen tissue.
types other than those listed here, please call to confirm
specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
Qualitative reverse transcription coupled real time PCR