Red pandas (Ailurus fulgens) are susceptible to canine distemper, with a number of reported vaccine-induced canine distemper cases. Canarypox-vectored recombinant canine distemper vaccines (PureVax Ferret Distemper [PFD] and Recombitek CDV [rCDV]) provide protection without inoculating a live distemper virus, but there are currently no published data regarding these vaccines' safety and efficacy in red pandas. One hundred twenty-two serum samples were collected from 50 captive red pandas and analyzed for antibodies to canine distemper. All naïve red pandas (n = 20) had negative titers. Naïve pandas receiving two PFD vaccinations had either negative or intermediate titers (n = 4). In contrast, naïve pandas receiving a series of two or three rCDV vaccinations (n = 14) had greater antibody responses. Red pandas vaccinated with PFD >12 mo since their last vaccination and a rCDV booster vaccination showed the highest titers observed. We recommend red pandas be administered a series of at least three recombinant vaccine (PDF or rDCV) vaccinations, followed by annual booster vaccinations.
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