Malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) is a sporadic disease of artiodactyls caused by several viruses in the Gammaherpesvirinae. We report two cases of MCF in free-living moose (Alces alces) from Saskatchewan. One was a thin, dehydrated, adult male found recumbent in 2006. At necropsy, ulcers were found in the intestine, bladder, and corneas. Microscopically, there was lymphocytic vasculitis and perivasculitis in many organs with infrequent fibrinoid necrosis. Ovine herpes virus-2 (OHV-2) was identified by polymerase chain reaction. A segment of the herpesviral DNA polymerase gene was 99% identical to published OHV-2 sequences. During a retrospective search of earlier cases, a female moose with lymphoplasmacytic meningoencephalitis examined in 2003 was identified and OHV-2 was amplified from paraffin-embedded tissues from this animal. We believe this to be the first description of MCF in free-ranging moose in North America. Infection requires contact with infected sheep or goats, and MCF in moose may become more prevalent as moose distribution continues to expand into agricultural prairie.
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Vol. 45 • No. 1