Twenty captive red wolves (Canis rufus), including 16 intended for release into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove, Tennessee (USA), and four housed at Knoxville Zoological Gardens, Inc., Knoxville, Tennessee, were evaluated for immunologic response to vaccination between June 1994 and April 1995. Wolves were vaccinated with modified-live (MLV) canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus type-2 (CPV2). Sera were collected, and immunofluorescent staining was performed for determination of immunoglobulin titers (CDV IgM, CDV IgG, and CPV2 IgG). A capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed for validation purposes, to confirm the reactivity of our standard diagnostic reagents with red wolf serum. All wolves produced a measurable antibody response to CDV and CPV2 vaccination. Titers against CDV and CPV2 varied widely among individual wolves, but between-litter differences in mean titers were not significant. No consistent response between the degree of response to CDV versus CPV2 vaccination was observed in individual wolves. No differences were seen between IgG responses of pups vaccinated with univalent vaccines given concurrently or during alternating weeks. Pups had an IgG response to CDV and CPV2 vaccination as early as 9 wk of age. Mean post-vaccination IgG titers against CDV were at or above the level normally measured in vaccinated domestic dogs. Mean post-vaccination IgG titers against CPV2 were below the level normally measured in domestic dogs. Adult previously-vaccinated wolves had measurable CDV and CPV2 IgG titers more than 1 yr after vaccination, but did not have significant IgG titer increases after revaccination. We conclude that red wolves are capable of producing an antibody response after vaccination with commercial canine products but that their response to CPV2 vaccination was minimal. This response can be assayed using tests developed for domestic dogs.
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