African wild dog (Lycaon pictus pictus) is an endangered species and captive populations are important for conservation. Canine distemper virus (CDV) and canine parvovirus (CPV) are two infections threatening the survival of this species. Based on a limited number of animals, live attenuated vaccines have been suggested to provide protective immunity in the African wild dog; however, their use has been hampered by the fear of vaccine-induced disease. Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden has used a live attenuated vaccine without any apparent cases of vaccine-induced disease, but no studies to evaluate immune response after vaccination have been performed. The objective of this study was to gain more knowledge about immune response following vaccination of the African wild dog, in order to improve husbandry in zoos and help wildlife conservation. In total, 146 serum samples from 47 individuals were analyzed. Serum neutralization test was used to determine presence of CDV antibodies, and an indirect IgG ELISA was used to detect CPV antibodies. Neutralizing antibodies was induced after CDV vaccination and persisted up to 3.9 years. Most animals had high IgG antibody titers to CPV prior to vaccination and vaccination did not result in increased titers. A decline in CPV antibody titer with increasing age was observed regardless of immunization status. Our results suggest that vaccination of African wild dogs with a live attenuated domestic dog vaccine may provide adequate protection against CDV, and could therefore be an important tool for the conservation of this endangered species.
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