We report the first documented case of morbillivirus infection in a wild, free-ranging Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica). The tigress entered a small village in the Russian Far East in an ambulatory but stuporous state with no apparent recognition or fear of humans. Her condition progressed rapidly with neurological signs, anorexia, and ultimately death. Histologic lesions included vacuolated to malacic white matter in the brain stem, cerebellum, and thalamus, with associated lymphocytic meningoencephalitis. Large, intranuclear, eosinophilic inclusions were within regional astrocytes, and the brain lesions were immunohistochemically positive when stained for canine distemper viral antigen. Hematologic and blood chemistry results were consistent with overwhelming systemic infection and starvation. The animal also was antibody-positive for canine distemper virus, feline panleukopenia, and feline coronavirus.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4