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Canine distemper virus (CDV)

Topics covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Canine distemper virus (CDV)


What to study?

For Prelims: About CDV and it’s effects on wildlife, concerns, measures needed.


Context: A recent study published in Threatened Taxa notes that 86% of the tested dogs around Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan carried Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) antibodies in their bloodstream.

  • This means that the dogs are either currently infected or have been infected sometime in their life and have overcome the disease. This finding points out that there is an increased risk of disease transfer from the dogs to tigers and leopards that live in the park.



Last year, over 20 lions from the Gir forest succumbed to the viral infection and now a guideline has been prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to prevent the spillover of the disease to wild animals.


What needs to be done?

The easy way out is prevention. Managing any disease in a wildlife population is extremely difficult. Most dogs are free ranging and not owned by any particular person in the village.

The government should take the initiative to vaccinate the dogs around wildlife sanctuaries in the country. This would be a good time to vaccinate against rabies as well. It is an investment that requires time and effort but increasing herd immunity will reduce chances of disease spillover to wildlife.


What is Canine Distemper Virus?

Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) is a viral disease that infects the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and central nervous systems.



  1. Dogs who have not been vaccinated for Canine Distemper are the most at-risk. While the disease can also be contracted when improperly vaccinated or when a dog has high susceptibility to bacterial infection, these cases are rare.
  2. CDV can be spread through direct contact (licking, breathing air, etc.) or indirect contact (bedding, toys, food bowls, etc.), though it cannot live on surfaces for very long. Inhaling the virus is the primary method of exposure. There is no known cure for CDV.


Sources: the Hindu.