Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are found worldwide. They are frequently seen in crowded inner cities as well as in forests or wooded areas, often living in proximity to humans and their pets. We examined sera from 100 wild raccoons in Japan for antibodies to six canine viruses with veterinary significance to assess their potential as reservoirs. We also aimed to understand the distribution of potentially infected wildlife. We found that 7% of samples were seropositive for canine distemper virus (CDV), 10% for canine parvovirus type 2, 2% for canine adenovirus type 1, 6% for canine adenovirus type 2, and 7% for canine coronavirus. No samples were found to be seropositive for canine parainfluenza virus. Seropositivity rates for canine distemper virus and canine parvovirus type 2 were significantly different between areas, and younger raccoons (<1 yr old) were more frequently seropositive than older raccoons. Because raccoons belong to the suborder Caniformia, similar to dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), our results suggest that they can act as reservoirs for some of these important canine viruses and might be involved in viral transmission. Further study should include isolation and analysis of canine viruses in wild raccoons from a wider area.
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Vol. 53 • No. 4