Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus type 2 in hares in England

Diana J. Bell, Jonathan P. Davis, Matthew Gardner, Alex M. Barlow, Mara Rocchi, Michaela Gentil, Rand J. Wilson
The Veterinary record 184(4):127.2-128
DOI: 10.1136/vr.l337

Comparison of three different PCR protocols for the detection of ferlaviruses

BMC Veterinary Researchvolume 15, Article number: 281 (2019) p.1-8
(Ekaterina Kolesnik, Timothy H. Hyndman, Elisabeth Müller, Michael Pees & Rachel E. Marschang)


Ferlaviruses are important pathogens in snakes often associated with respiratory and neurological disease. The detection of ferlaviral RNA by PCR is considered to be the most reliable method for the diagnosis of infection. The PCRs that have been used most commonly for this purpose have not been properly assessed to determine their sensitivity, specificity and ability to detect the known genetic diversity of this group of viruses. The aim of this study was to compare three published PCR protocols so that a single method could be recommended to laboratories that perform this testing.

Comparisons were carried out using cell culture isolates and tissues from snakes infected with specific virus genotypes. A single round PCR targeting a short segment of the viral polymerase (L) gene provided the highest sensitivity and specificity, and detected isolated ferlaviruses from all four described genogroups, as well as from tissues of infected snakes.

Three genetically distinct ferlaviruses have varying effects on infected corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus)

Pees M, Schmidt V, Papp T, Gellért À, Starck JM, Neul A, Marschang RE. 2019.

1 Department for Birds and Reptiles, University Teaching Hospital, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany,
2 Institute for Veterinary Medical Research, Centre for Agricultural Research, the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences, Budapest, Hungary,
3 Institute for Environmental and Animal Hygiene, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
4 Department of Biology II LMU München–Biocenter, Munich, Germany,
5 Laboklin, Bad Kissingen, Germany


Ferlaviruses are important pathogens in snakes and other reptiles. They cause respiratory and neurological disease in infected animals and can cause severe disease outbreaks. Isolates from this genus can be divided into four genogroups–A, B, and C, as well as a more distantly related sister group, “tortoise”. Sequences from large portions (5.3 kb) of the genomes of a variety of ferlavirus isolates from genogroups A, B, and C, including the genes coding the surface glycoproteins F and HN as well as the L protein were determined and compared. In silico analyses of the glycoproteins of genogroup A, B, and C isolates were carried out. Three isolates representing these three genogroups were used in transmission studies with corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus), and clinical signs, gross and histopathology, electronmicroscopic changes in the lungs, and isolation of bacteria from the lungs were evaluated. Analysis of the sequences supported the previous categorization of ferlaviruses into four genogroups, and criteria for definition of ferlavirus genogroups and species were established based on sequence identities (80% resp. 90%). Analysis of the ferlavirus glycoprotein models showed parallels to corresponding regions of other paramyxoviruses. The transmission studies showed clear differences in the pathogenicities of the three virus isolates used. The genogroup B isolate was the most and the group A virus the least pathogenic. Reasons for these differences were not clear based on the differences in the putative structures of their respective glycoproteins, although e.g. residue and consequential structure variation of an extended cleavage site or changes in electrostatic charges at enzyme binding sites could play a role. The presence of bacteria in the lungs of the infected animals also clearly corresponded to increased pathogenicity. This study contributes to knowledge about the structure and phylogeny of ferlaviruses and lucidly demonstrates differences in pathogenicity between strains of different genogroups.

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Detection and Characterization of Invertebrate Iridoviruses Found in Reptiles and Prey Insects in Europe over the Past Two Decades

Papp T, Marschang RE. 2019.

1 Institute for Veterinary Medical Research, Centre for Agricultural Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungaria krt 21, H-1143 Budapest, Hungary
2 Cell Culture Lab, Microbiology Department, Laboklin GmbH & Co. KG, 97688 Bad Kissingen, Germany
* Correspondence: rachel.marschang@gmail.com


Invertebrate iridoviruses (IIVs), while mostly described in a wide range of invertebrate
hosts, have also been repeatedly detected in diagnostic samples from poikilothermic vertebrates
including reptiles and amphibians. Since iridoviruses from invertebrate and vertebrate hosts di er
strongly from one another based not only on host range but also on molecular characteristics,
a series of molecular studies and bioassays were performed to characterize and compare IIVs from
various hosts and evaluate their ability to infect a vertebrate host. Eight IIV isolates from reptilian
and orthopteran hosts collected over a period of six years were partially sequenced. Comparison of
eight genome portions (total over 14 kbp) showed that these were all very similar to one another
and to an earlier described cricket IIV isolate, thus they were given the collective name lizard–cricket
IV (Liz–CrIV). One isolate from a chameleon was also subjected to Illumina sequencing and almost
the entire genomic sequence was obtained. Comparison of this longer genome sequence showed
several di erences to the most closely related IIV, Invertebrate iridovirus 6 (IIV6), the type species of
the genus Iridovirus, including several deletions and possible recombination sites, as well as insertions
of genes of non-iridoviral origin. Three isolates from vertebrate and invertebrate hosts were also
used for comparative studies on pathogenicity in crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) at 20 and 30 C.
Finally, the chameleon isolate used for the genome sequencing studies was also used in a transmission
study with bearded dragons. The transmission studies showed large variability in virus replication
and pathogenicity of the three tested viruses in crickets at the two temperatures. In the infection
study with bearded dragons, lizards inoculated with a Liz–CrIV did not become ill, but the virus
was detected in numerous tissues by qPCR and was also isolated in cell culture from several tissues.
Highest viral loads were measured in the gastro-intestinal organs and in the skin. These studies
demonstrate that Liz–CrIV circulates in the pet trade in Europe. This virus is capable of infecting
both invertebrates and poikilothermic vertebrates, although its involvement in disease in the latter
has not been proven.

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Authors: Shemi L. Benge, Timothy H. Hyndman, Richard S. Funk, Rachel
E. Marschang, Renata Schneider, et. al.
Source: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 50(1) : 238-242
Published By: American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
URL: doi.org/10.1638/2017-0016


Adenoviruses are medium-sized DNA viruses with very high host fidelity. The phylogenetic relationships of the adenoviruses strongly resemble that of their hosts, consistent with evolutionary codivergence. The genus Atadenovirus appears to have evolved in squamate hosts. Perhaps the best known of the squamate adenoviruses is Agamid adenovirus 1 (AgAdV1), found most commonly in central bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps), where it is a prevalent cause of hepatitis/enteritis, especially in young animals. All previous reports of adenoviruses in bearded dragons were AgAdV1. Helodermatid adenovirus 2 (HeAdV2) was first seen in Mexican beaded lizards (Heloderma horridus). Subsequently, partial adenoviral polymerase gene sequence from a western bearded dragon (Pogona minor) in Australia was found to share 99% nucleotide homology with HeAdV2. This article reports the discovery of a virus identical to HeAdV2 in a captive central bearded dragon in Florida and wild Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum) in Arizona. Additionally, a partial adenoviral polymerase gene sharing 98% homology with this HeAdV2 was discovered in a death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus) in Australia. These findings call into question the provenance of HeAdV2. Further studies of atadenoviral host range, diversity of adenoviruses in captive animals, and characterization of adenoviruses from wild squamates are indicated.

Retrospective evaluation of vector-borne infections in dogs imported from the Mediterranean region and southeastern Europe(2007–2015)

Ingo Schäfer, Maria Volkmann, Pamela Beelitz, Roswitha Merle, Elisabeth Müller and Barbara Kohn
Parasites & Vectors 2019; 12:30

Canine vector-borne infections have gained importance in Germany due to growing tourist traffic and an increased import of dogs from abroad. Endemic regions for pathogens such as Leishmania infantum, Hepatozoon canis, Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma platys and Dirofilaria spp. are the Mediterranean area and southeastern Europe. Babesia species and Anaplasma phagocytophilum are present all over Europe. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the prevalence of vector-borne infections in dogs imported from defined endemic countries in the Mediterranean area and southeastern Europe.

Correlation of BRAF Variant V595E, Breed, Histological Grade and Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression in Canine Transitional Cell Carcinomas

by Julia M. Grassinger,Sophie Merz,Heike Aupperle-Lellbach,Hanna Erhard and Robert Klopfleisch

Vet. Sci. 2019, 6(1), 31; Published: 19 March 2019






The presence of BRAF variant V595E, as well as an increased cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in canine transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) are well-described in the literature. The aim of the present study was to investigate the correlation between breed (terrier versus non-terrier dogs), histological grade, COX-2 expression, and BRAF mutation in canine TCC. Therefore, transmural TCC biopsies from 65 dogs (15 terriers, 50 non-terriers) were graded histologically into low- and high-grade. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the intensity of COX-2 expression was performed using an immunoreactive score (IRS). Exon 15 of chromosome 16 was examined for the BRAF variant c.1799T>A by TaqMan® SNP assay. TCC was low-grade in 20 cases (one terrier, 19 non-terriers) and high-grade in 45 cases (14 terriers, 31 non-terriers). Contrary to humans, histological grade was not significantly correlated to the intensity of COX-2 expression. BRAF mutation was detected in 11/15 (73%) TCC of terriers and in 18/50 (36%) TCC of non-terriers. Histological grade and BRAF mutation were not correlated significantly (p = 0.2912). Terriers had a considerably higher prevalence of high-grade tumors (p < 0.0001), as well as of BRAF mutation (p ≤ 0.05) compared to non-terriers. In non-terriers, neoplasms with BRAF mutation showed a significantly higher intensity of COX-2 expression than those without BRAF mutation (p ≤ 0.05). In conclusion, in contrast to humans, testing for BRAF mutation in canine TCC is a sensitive diagnostic method especially in terriers (73%) and may be recommended as a screening test. However, evidence of BRAF mutation in canine TCC is not a predictor for the histological grade. Moreover, a positive correlation between histological grade and the intensity of COX-2 expression was not found. Further studies are necessary to clarify the clinical and prognostic relevance of the elevated intensity of COX-2 expression of TCC with BRAF mutation detected in non-terriers.

Antiviral therapy

Marschang RE. 2019

Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Pp. 1160-1161


Marschang RE. 2019

In: Divers SJ, Stahl SJ (eds.). Mader’s Reptile and Amphibian Medicine and Surgery, Elsevier, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Pp. 247-269


Infectious diseases

Marschang RE, Chitty J. 2019

In: Girling SJ, Raiti P (eds.). BSAVA Manual of Reptiles, 3rd Edition. British Small Animal Veterinary Association, Gloucester, UK. Pp. 423-442

Reptarenaviruses in apparently healthy snakes in an Australian zoological collection

Hyndman TH, Marschang RE, Bruce M, Clark P, Vitali SD. 2019

Austr Vet J. 97(4): 93-102.

CMAH genotyping survey for blood types A, B and C (AB) in purpose-bredcats

ANIMAL GENETICS, First published: 10 March 2019
A. Kehl, E. Mueller and U.Giger


In domestic cats, the AB blood group system consists of the three types A, B and C (also called AB). Mismatches can cause acute hemolytic transfusion reactions and hemolysis of the newborn (neonatal isoerythrolysis, NI). As blood types B and C are inherited recessively to A, breeders need to know the genotype to predict blood types in offspring and avoid NI. Several CMAH variants have been described as being associated with the b and ac alleles, and different genotyping schemes exist. Here, we genotyped 2145 cats with the original SNV panel, including SNVs c.142G>A and ∆‐53, and our new scheme, with SNVs c.179G>T, c.268T>A and c.1322delT, to differentiate types A and B and added the SNV for the common ac (c.364C>T). Based upon the new scheme, all samples were assigned the correct genotype. No discordances appeared for the A allele, and new breed‐specific SNVs (c.179G>T, c.1322delT) for the b allele were discovered. Furthermore, the genotypes A/ac (type A), ac/ac (C) and ac/b (C) could be detected. We found the variant c.179G>T in additional breeds: Ragdoll, Siberian, Scottish Fold, Chartreux, Neva Masquerade, British Shorthair and Highlander. Also, the variant c.364C>T was detected in additional breeds: Bengal, British Shorthair, Maine Coon, and Scottish Fold. We conclude that our new SNV panel is superior in genotyping cats than the original SNV panel and assures correct assignments of types A, B and C to assist veterinary clinicians and breeders to recognize, confirm and avoid blood incompatibilities such as acute hemolytic transfusion reactions and NI.