Canine distemper is a widespread disease affecting both domestic and wild carnivores. This investigation of the geographic distribution, wildlife species infected, and relative prevalence rates was conducted over an 11-yr period and helps to document the disease spread, most highly infected wildlife species, and histologic lesions. Animals were collected as found dead, hunter and trapper harvested, and euthanized for displaying signs of abnormal behavior or neurologic disease. This disease appeared to spread from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan into the Upper Peninsula, was most frequently documented in raccoons (Procyon lotor), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), and gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), but also involved additional wildlife species. Three unique wildlife virus strains were identified. Two of these grouped within a separate subclade of the America 2 lineage. A third strain appeared to be a unique sequence type that is not associated with any existing subclade of America 2. We recommend the combined use of routine histology and immunohistochemical staining to confirm the diagnosis, and further recommend that both the lungs and spleen be collected as the optimal tissues to utilize for surveillance purposes.

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