Malignant catarrhal fever–like clinical disease was diagnosed in a free-ranging bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) from Alberta, Canada, in June 2015. Antemortem and gross pathology findings included muscle atrophy, marked weight loss, and bilaterally symmetric alopecia with hyperpigmentation and crusting over the face, medial surfaces of the pinnae, dorsal trunk, distal limbs, perineal area, and tail. Histologically, the skin lesions were characterized by granulomatous mural folliculitis with numerous multinucleated giant cells and fewer lymphocytes and eosinophils consistent with previous reports of chronic ovine herpesvirus-2 (OvHV-2) infection. Multiple skin samples were positive for OvHV-2 DNA on PCR, and on partial sequencing of the viral DNA, there was 94% homology with reference GenBank OvHV-2. Quantitative PCR confirmed an increased level of OvHV-2 DNA in the lesional skin tissues. Based on exclusion of other disease processes, gross and histological lesions, PCR, and viral DNA sequencing results, a diagnosis of OvHV-2–mediated malignant catarrhal fever–like dermatitis was made.
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Vol. 53 • No. 1