Research Article

Molecular diagnosis and clinicopathological characteristics of canine distemper neurologic disease


Canine distemper is a highly infectious disease, distributed throughout the world. It is characterized by lymphotropism, neurotropism, and epitheliotropism, resulting in severe clinical changes and death. We report on the clinical and hematological findings of dogs with neurological distemper. Thirty-two mixed breed dogs of both sexes and of various age groups with clinical presentation suggestive of distemper with neurological involvement were evaluated. Blood and urine samples were collected for hematological and PCR analysis. Of the 32 animals evaluated by the RT-PCR technique, 22 were positive for the distemper virus. In the clinical presentation of distemper positive animals, neurological disorders stood out, with myoclonus being the most prevalent (18/22). In the hematological evaluation, erythrocytes and leukocytes were within the reference range; thrombocytopenia and lymphopenia were the most relevant findings in dogs with neurological involvement and could be used by veterinary clinicians as auxiliary diagnostic parameters.