Cornell identifies new strain of canine distemper
In October 2018, a 12-week old "Sheltie" arrived from Korea. Approximately 12 days later, the dog began with a cough and lethargy with blood work indicating "anemia". About 10 days later, the dog developed a unilateral myoclonus with relapsing lethargy. In another week the neurological signs had progressed to tonic clonic seizures that continued to worsen to a persistent uncontrolled myoclonus at which time the dog was euthanized.
Samples (serum, ocular swab, urine) obtained at 9 days post onset of clinical signs were forwarded to the Cornell Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for testing.
The RT-PCR tests on the ocular swab and urine were strong positive for canine distemper virus. Phylogenetic analyses indicated the imported dog was infected with the Asia-1 strain of CDV. This appears to be the first time this strain of CDC has been identified in North America.
Cornell noted that the importation of CDV may be more significant in that CDV once it enters an ecosystem cannot be eradicated even with effective vaccines.