Canine Distemper Virus

Virus, Enveloped

VirusCanine Distemper Virus
StructureEnveloped
GenomeSingle stranded RNA
FamilyParamyxoviridae
Primary HostDogs
Disease(s) CausedDistemper, hardpad disease
SymptomsDischarge from eyes, fever, coughing, lethargy, vomiting, seizing
Potential ComplicationsNervous system damage
Transmission ModeInhalation of aerosols, shared food/water bowls
Sites of Community OutbreaksKennels, shelters

Importance of Canine Distemper Virus

Canine distemper virus (CDV) is an enveloped member of the Paramyxoviridae family, closely related to the measles virus. Dogs serve as the primary reservoir species, but it can also affect a range of wildlife, including bears, foxes, and large cats.

Canine distemper, also known as hardpad disease, is highly contagious and systemic in nature. Illness is characterized by a diphasic fever, with the second stage being accompanied by nasal and ocular discharge, lethargy, and a lack of appetite. The second stage of fever is often also accompanied by secondary gastrointestinal and respiratory infections and footpads may also develop a tough keratin layer. Canine distemper can progress further into neurological symptoms including circling, head tilt, paralysis, and seizures. Persistent infection of the central nervous system can lead to encephalitis even in fully vaccinated dogs.

Puppies are more susceptible to CDV. In adult dogs, the mortality rate is less than 50%. In puppies, the mortality rate can reach 80%.

Vaccines exist for CDV and are required for pets in many areas. Outbreaks tend to occur in places with non-vaccinated populations, such as animal shelters and pet stores. If a puppy does not receive the full series of initial shots, immunity will be incomplete. Breaks in immunity can occur if the dog does not receive a booster shot yearly.

Importance of Disinfection: Survival of Canine Distemper Virus on Surfaces and Potential for Transmission via Fomites

CDV is typically spread via contact with aerosols or direct contact with infected bodily fluids, but transmission via contaminated food and water bowls is also possible.

As an enveloped virus, canine distemper virus is highly susceptible to environmental factors, including temperature and humidity. Colder temperatures allow it to persist for longer periods of time, up to 14 days at 5 °C. CDV is susceptible to a range of chemical disinfectants. A 70% ethanol, 2% formalin, 100 ppm sodium hypochlorite, and 0.05% quaternary ammonium chloride have all been shown to demonstrate greater than a 99.9% reduction in infectivity after a 10 minutes contact time.

References
  • Deem, Sharon L., et al. "Canine distemper in terrestrial carnivores: a review."Journal of Zoo and Wildlife medicine 31.4 (2000): 441-451.
  • Pesavento, P. A., and B. G. Murphy. "Common and emerging infectious diseases in the animal shelter." Veterinary Pathology Online (2013): 0300985813511129.
  • Watanabe, Y., H. Miyata, and H. Sato. "Inactivation of laboratory animal RNA-viruses by physicochemical treatment." Jikken dobutsu. Experimental animals 38.4 (1989): 305-311.