Immunization and Antibody Persistence to Canine Distemper and Rabies Vaccination in Captive African Wild Dogs (Lycaon pictus)
The goal of the project was evaluation of vaccination protocols and antibody persistence to canine distemper and rabies vaccination in captive African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) (AWD). Although vaccination offers the best protection against canine distemper virus (CDV), morbidity and mortality from suspected modified-live virus vaccine-induced canine distemper have been reported in captive AWD litters.2,3,5 This species is also highly susceptible to rabies virus, where high mortality rates have occurred in captive, reintroduced, and wild packs in southern and east Africa with and without rabies vaccination.4,7 Vaccine recommendations for domestic dogs have substantially changed over the past 5 years. Routine annual vaccinations are no longer recommended; rather, antibody concentration monitoring is suggested to determine duration of immunity from specific vaccination schedules.1,6 Currently, however, annual vaccination is practiced for many species of exotic carnivores due to unknown efficacies of vaccines in species where challenge studies are not practical and lack of serologic studies to determine antibody titers after vaccination.
U.S. institutions that house AWD were contacted, requesting vaccination and banked serum records. Analysis of records from participating institutions were used to request specific serum samples for CDV antibody titer via serum neutralization and for rabies antibody testing by the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test method. Results from this study will assist in establishing vaccine protocols similar to those of revised domestic canine vaccine recommendations. The expectation is that risk will be reduced due to less frequent vaccinations considering the documented sensitivity of this species to the modified-live CDV vaccine.
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