Canine distemper virus (CDV) affects many wild and captive, nondomestic species worldwide but has not been previously reported in Xenarthra. Paucity of information on vaccination safety and efficacy presents challenges for disease prevention in captive collections. CDV infections and subsequent mortalities in five captive Linnaeus's two-toed sloths (Choloepus didactylus) in eastern Tennessee are reported. Clinical signs included oculonasal discharge, oral ulcerations, and diarrhea, and the diagnosis was confirmed by necropsy, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, virus isolation, and polymerase chain reaction. Viral sequencing identified the strain to be consistent with a new CDV lineage currently affecting domestic dogs and wildlife in Tennessee. Seven sloths were examined and vaccinated using a recombinant CDV vaccine on days 0 and 21. Subsequent blood samples showed increased titers in 3/4 sloths. Based on the outbreak and serologic findings postvaccination without adverse effects, the authors recommend recombinant CDV vaccination in sloths exposed to known carriers of CDV.
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