Pseudorabies virus infection in Oklahoma hunting dogs.
Pseudorabies is caused by Suid herpesvirus 1, a member of the Alphaherpesvirinae subfamily. Although pigs are the natural host of Pseudorabies virus (PRV), the virus has a broad host range and may cause fatal encephalitis in many species. The United States obtained PRV-free status in 2004 after the virus was eradicated from domestic swineherds, but the virus is still present in feral swine populations. The current report describes PRV infection in 3 dogs that were used to hunt feral swine. The dogs developed clinical signs including facial pruritus with facial abrasions, dyspnea, vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia, muscle stiffness, and death. Two were euthanized, and 1 died within approximately 48 hr after onset of clinical signs. The salient histologic changes consisted of neutrophilic trigeminal ganglioneuritis with neuronophagia and equivocal intranuclear inclusion bodies. Pseudorabies virus was isolated from fresh tissues from 2 of the dogs, and immunohistochemistry detected the virus in the third dog. Virus sequencing and phylogeny, based upon available GenBank sequences, revealed that the virus was likely a field strain that was closely related to a cluster of PRV strains previously identified in Illinois. Though eradicated from domestic swine in the United States, PRV is present in populations of feral swine, and should therefore continue to be considered a possible cause of disease in dogs and other domestic animals with compatible clinical history and signs. Continued surveillance is necessary to prevent reintroduction of PRV into domestic swine.