Parvovirus Outbreak in Raccoons (Procyon lotor) being Rehabilitated at Wildcat Wildlife Center
Keywords:Raccoon, Procyon lotor, parvovirus, wildlife, vaccination
Parvovirus infection in raccoons (Procyon lotor) is a potentially devastating disease for rehabilitation centers that work with large numbers of raccoons annually. Raccoons are reportedly affected by three related parvoviruses including raccoon parvovirus, feline parvovirus (panleukopenia or feline distemper), and mink parvovirus (mink enteritis virus). The disease primarily affects young raccoons and is characterized by depression, bloody diarrhea, and sudden death. The importance of parvoviral infections in free–ranging raccoons is not known but is potentially a substantial source of mortality. During July and August of 2007, a parvovirus outbreak killed 26 of 98 raccoons being rehabilitated at the Wildcat Wildlife Center (WWC) in Delphi, Indiana. The raccoons presented with lethargy, anorexia, diarrhea, and loss of motor skills. Euthanasia was necessary for several of the severely affected animals. Two animals were submitted to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in West Lafayette, Indiana, where veterinary pathologists reported myeloid hypoplasia and histopathologic lesions consistent with parvoviral enteritis, although no parvoviral particles were detected with virus isolation. Acutely affected raccoons found alive were isolated and given antibiotics and supportive care with little success. One recovered and likely will be suitable for release. The other 71 raccoons were successfully released. At the time of the outbreak, all but three of the rehabilitating raccoons were fully vaccinated for recommended canine and feline diseases, including parvovirus.
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