Ferrets: systemic viral diseases

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Ferrets are subject to a number of important viral diseases. This chapter deals with the three important systemic viral diseases of ferrets; distemper, parvovirus (Aleutian disease) and rabies. Canine distemper virus (CDV) is an RNA virus of the genus (family Paramyxoviridae), closely related to human measles virus. Aleutian disease virus (ADV) is a parvovirus that affects both mink and ferrets. It is so called because when discovered in the 1940s in the USA it affected the Aleutian genotype most severely. Rabies is an acute fatal encephalomyelitis caused by viruses of the genus (family Rhabdoviridae). Ferrets are susceptible to rabies but in the USA fewer than 30 cases have been reported since 1958. The chapter details transmission, pathogenesis, clinical signs, treatment and prevention and control for Distemper, Aleutian disease and Rabies.

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Image of 31.1
31.1 A case of ferret distemper. Ocular and nasal discharge leading to crusting around the eyes and nose. Nasal discharge and characteristic chin rash. This ferret also had aural discharge and crusting. Swelling and crusting of the footpads. (Courtesy of O Contreras and B Portillo Lopez.)
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31.2 Severe hindlimb paresis in a suspected case of Aleutian disease.
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