Canine distemper virus is a member of the genus Morbillivirus in the family Paramyxoviridae. Canine distemper has been recorded in domestic dogs for centuries. It is now recognized as a worldwide problem of carnivores and has the second highest fatality rate of any infectious disease, after rabies, in domestic dogs. The importance of this disease in nondomestic animals has become evident with vaccine-induced infections in a variety of species and large-scale epidemics in captive and free-ranging felids. To date, canine distemper has been reported in all families of terrestrial carnivores: Canidae, Felidae, Hyaenidae, Mustelidae, Procyonidae, Ursidae, and Viverridae. Veterinarians, including those working with nondomestic carnivores, should be familiar with the clinical signs, diagnosis, and clinical management of this disease.
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Vol. 31 • No. 4