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Clinical and serological response of wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) to vaccination against canine distemper, canine parvovirus infection and rabies

J. Van Heerden, J. Bingham, M. Van Vuuren, R.E.J. Burroughs, E. Stylianides

Journal of the South African Veterinary Association; Vol 73, No 1 (2002), 8-12. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v73i1.541

Submitted: 05 July 2002
Published:  05 July 2002


Wild dogs Lycaon pictus (n = 8) were vaccinated 4 times against canine distemper (n = 8) (initially with inactivated and subsequently with live attenuated strains of canine distemper) and canine parvovirus infection (n = 8) over a period of 360 days. Four of the wild dogs were also vaccinated 3 times against rabies using a live oral vaccine and 4 with an inactivated parenteral vaccine. Commercially-available canine distemper, canine parvovirus and parenteral rabies vaccines, intended for use in domestic dogs, were used. None of the vaccinated dogs showed any untoward clinical signs. The inactivated canine distemper vaccine did not result in seroconversion whereas the attenuated live vaccine resulted in seroconversion in all wild dogs. Presumably protective concentrations of antibodies to canine distemper virus were present in all wild dogs for at least 451 days. Canine parvovirus haemagglutination inhibition titres were present in all wild dogs prior to the administration of vaccine and protective concentrations persisted for at least 451 days. Vaccination against parvovirus infection resulted in a temporary increase in canine parvovirus haemagglutination inhibition titres in most dogs. Administration of both inactivated parenteral and live oral rabies vaccine initially resulted in seroconversion in 7 of 8 dogs. These titres, however, dropped to very low concentrations within 100 days. Booster administrations resulted in increased antibody concentrations in all dogs. It was concluded that the vaccines were safe to use in healthy subadult wild dogs and that a vaccination protocol in free-ranging wild dogs should at least incorporate booster vaccinations against rabies 3-6 months after the first inoculation.

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Author affiliations

J. Van Heerden,
J. Bingham,
M. Van Vuuren,
R.E.J. Burroughs,
E. Stylianides,


Canine Distemper; Canine Parvovirus; Lycaon Pictus; Rabies; Vaccination; Wild Dogs


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