Aleutian mink disease virus (AMDV) is found world-wide and has a major impact on mink health and welfare by decreasing reproduction and fur quality. In the majority of mink, the infection is subclinical and the diagnosis must be confirmed by serology or polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Increased knowledge based on a systematically description of clinical signs, pathology and histopathology might be a tool to reduce the risk of infection from subclinically infected mink to AMDV free herds. The aim of this study was to give a histopathological description of the progression of a chronic experimental infection with a currently circulating Danish strain of AMDV, Saeby/DEN/799.1/05. These results were compared with the pathogenesis of previously published AMDV stains. This experimental AMDV infection resulted in only decreased appetite and soft or discolored feces, primarily within the first 8 weeks after AMDV inoculation. Gross pathology revealed few and inconsistent findings mainly associated with the liver, spleen and kidneys. The majority of the AMDV inoculated wild type mink (n = 41) developed various histopathological changes consistent with AMDV infection in one or more organs: infiltrations of mononuclear cells in liver, kidney and brain, reduced density of lymphocytes and increased numbers of plasma cells in lymph nodes and spleen. Natural infection, as occurred in the sentinel sapphire mink (four of six mink), progressed similar to the experimentally inoculated mink. Experimental AMDV inoculation mainly resulted in subclinical infection with unspecific clinical signs and gross pathology, and more consistent histopathology appearing at any time after AMDV inoculation during the 24 weeks of observation. Thus, the observed histopathology substantiates AMDV infection and no correlation to time of inoculation was found. This confirms that diagnosing AMDV infection requires serology and/or PCR and the Saeby/DEN/799.1/05 AMDV strain results in histopathology consistent with other AMDV strains.
- Aleutian mink disease virus
- Chronic experimental infection