Document Type : Original Article


1 DVM Graduate, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Canine distemper virus (CDV) is responsible for high morbidity and mortality in dogs worldwide. Epidemiological study of canine distemper can help to control and treat the disease in any area. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of CDV in dogs referred to the Veterinary Hospital from September 23, 2018 to September 22, 2019. Dogs with at least two clinical signs of canine distemper underwent blood tests, rapid test kit from the eye and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and RT-PCR from whole blood and/or CSF samples. Out of 1212 referred dogs, 112 dogs were suspected to have canine distemper of which 90 underwent RT-PCR and rapid test kits. The disease prevalence was 4.04% (49/1212) and 7.44% (49/659) according to the total number of referring dogs and number of referring sick dogs, respectively. The distemper fatality rate was 69.57% (32/46). Seventy percent of distemper positive cases were under 12 months old and 52.08% were under 6 months old. Female dogs were more susceptible than males; however, the fatality rate of males was more than females. Of distemper positive dogs, 91.84% were unvaccinated. The highest prevalence (71.43%) of dogs diagnosed with CDV occurred during the cold seasons. It is concluded that canine distemper is endemic in the geographical area of Mashhad and its prevalence rate in dogs referred to the Veterinary Hospital of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad is 4.04% and its fatality rate is 69.57%. This indicates that a significant number of dogs may die if they develop distemper despite treatment.


  1. Greene CE. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. 4th ed. St. Louis, USA: Elsevier Saunders 2012; 25-42.
  2. Avizeh R, Shapouri M, Akhlaghi N. Antibody titers against canine distemper virus in unvaccinated rural dogs from Ahvaz, Iran. Pak J Biol Sci 2007; 10(21): 3970-3972.
  3. Damien BC, Martina BE, Losch S, et al. Prevalence of antibodies against canine distemper virus among red foxes in Luxembourg. J Wildl Dis 2002; 38(4): 856-859.
  4. Dezengrini R, Weiblen R, Flores EF. Seroprevalence of parvovirus, adenovirus, coronavirus and canine distemper virus infections in dogs of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. [Portuguese] Ciência Rural 2007; 37(1): 183-189.
  5. Gencay Göksu A, Oncel T, Karaoglu T, et al. Antibody prevalence to canine distemper virus (CDV) in stray dogs in Turkey. Rev Med Vet (Toulouse) 2004; 155(8): 432-434.
  6. Headley SA, Graça Canine distemper: epidemiological findings of 250 cases. Braz J Vet Res Anim Sci 2000; 37: 136-140.
  7. Mohammad HA, Ajaj EA, Gharban HAJ. The first study on confirmation and risk factors of acute and chronic canine distemper in stray dogs in Wasit Province, Iraq, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Vet World 2022; 15(4): 968-974.
  8. Namroodi S, Rostami A, Majidzadeh-Ardebili K, et al. Molecular and serological detection of canine distemper virus (CDV) in rural dogs, Iran. Iran J Virol 2013; 7(1&2): 37-43.
  9. Namroudi S, Rostami A, Barin A, et al. Antibody monitoring to canine distemper virus in unvaccinated rural dogs in the southern coastal region of Caspian Sea [Persian]. J Vet Res 2013; 68(3): 209-215.
  10. Temilade BE, Solomon OO, Omotayo OE, et al. Seropositivity of canine distemper virus (CDV) in dogs presenting at Abeokuta, Nigeria. Public Health Res 2015; 5(4): 109-119.
  11. Tennant BJ, Gaskell RM, Jones RC, et al. Prevalence of antibodies to four major canine viral diseases in dogs in a Liverpool hospital population. J Small Anim Pract 1991; 32(4): 175-179.
  12. Frisk A, König M, Moritz A, et al. Detection of canine distemper virus nucleoprotein RNA by reverse transcription-PCR using serum, whole blood, and cerebrospinal fluid from dogs with distemper. J Clin Microbiol 1999; 37(11): 3634-3643.
  13. Latha D, Srinivasan SR, Thirunavukkarasu PS, et al. Assessment of canine distemper virus infection in vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs. Indian J Biotechnol 2007; 6: 35-40.
  14. Woma TY, van Vuuren M. Isolation of canine distemper viruses from domestic dogs in South Africa using Vero. Dog SLAM cells and its application to diagnosis. Afr J Microbiol Res 2009; 3(3): 111-118.
  15. Ek-Kommonen C, Sihvonen L, Pekkanen K, et al. Outbreak off canine distemper in vaccinated dogs in Finland. Vet Rec 1997; 141(5): 380-383.
  16. McCaw DL, Thompson M, Tate D, et al. Serum distemper virus and parvovirus antibody titers among dogs brought to a veterinary hospital for revaccination. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998; 213(1): 72-75.
  17. Athanasiou LV, Kantere MC, Kyriakis CS, et al. Evaluation of a direct immunofluorescent assay and/or conjunctival cytology for detection of canine distemper virus antigen. Viral Immunol 2018; 31(3): 272-275.
  18. Cho HS, Park NY. Detection of canine distemper virus in blood samples by reverse transcription loop‐mediated isothermal amplification. J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health 2005; 52(9): 410-413.
  19. Saito TB, Alfieri AA, Wosiacki SR, et al. Detection of canine distemper virus by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in the urine of dogs with clinical signs of distemper encephalitis. Res Vet Sci 2006; 80(1): 116-119.
  20. Beineke A, Puff C, Seehusen F, et al. Pathogenesis and immunopathology of systemic and nervous canine distemper. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 2009; 127(1-2): 1-18.
  21. Headley SA, Amude AM, Alfieri AF, et al. Epidemiological features and the neuropathological manifestations of canine distemper virus-induced infections in Brazil: a review. Semina: Ciências Agrárias Londrina 2012; 33(5): 1945-1978.
  22. Appel MJ, Summers BA. Pathogenicity of morbilli-viruses for terrestrial carnivores. Vet Microbiol 1995; 44(2-4): 187-191.
  23. Martella V, Elia G, Buonavoglia C. Canine distemper virus. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2008; 38(4): 787-797.
  24. Blancou J. Dog distemper: imported into Europe from South America? Hist Med Vet 2004; 29(2): 35-41.
  25. Eghafona N, Jacob J, Yah SC. Evaluation of post-vaccination immunity to canine distemper and parvoviruses in Benin City, Nigeria. Afr J Biotechnol 2007; 6(16): 1898-1904.
  26. Twark L, Dodds WJ. Clinical use of serum parvovirus and distemper virus antibody titers for determining revaccination strategies in healthy dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000; 217(7): 1021-1024.
  27. Józwik A, Frymus T. Natural distemper in vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs in Warsaw. J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health2002; 49(9): 413-414.
  28. Calderon MG, Remorini P, Periolo O, et al. Detection by RT-PCR and genetic characterization of canine distemper virus from vaccinated and non-vaccinated dogs in Argentina. Vet Microbiol 2007; 125(3-4): 341-349.