Broadly reactive pan-paramyxovirus reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction and sequence analysis for the detection of Canine distemper virus in a case of canine meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology. Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite the immunologic protection associated with routine vaccination protocols, Canine distemper virus (CDV) remains an important pathogen of dogs. Antemortem diagnosis of systemic CDV infection may be made by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and/or immunohistochemical testing for CDV antigen; central nervous system infection often requires postmortem confirmation via histopathology and immunohistochemistry. An 8-month-old intact male French Bulldog previously vaccinated for CDV presented with multifocal neurologic signs. Based on clinical and postmortem findings, the dog's disease was categorized as a meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology. Broadly reactive, pan-paramyxovirus RT-PCR using consensus-degenerate hybrid oligonucleotide primers, combined with sequence analysis, identified CDV amplicons in the dog's brain. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of CDV antigens, and a specific CDV RT-PCR based on the phosphoprotein gene identified a wild-type versus vaccinal virus strain. This case illustrates the utility of broadly reactive PCR and sequence analysis for the identification of pathogens in diseases with unknown etiology.

published proceedings

  • J Vet Diagn Invest

author list (cited authors)

  • Schatzberg, S. J., Li, Q., Porter, B. F., Barber, R. M., Claiborne, M. K., Levine, J. M., ... Tong, S.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Schatzberg, Scott J||Li, Qiang||Porter, Brian F||Barber, Renee M||Claiborne, Mary Kate||Levine, Jonathan M||Levine, Gwendolyn J||Israel, Sarah K||Young, Benjamin D||Kiupel, Matti||Greene, Craig||Ruone, Susan||Anderson, Larry||Tong, Suxiang

publication date

  • November 2009