The present study addressed the causal role of Aleutian mink disease parvovirus (ADV) in acute interstitial pneumonia in mink kits. All the examined isolates of ADV caused interstitial pneumonia in newborn kits, although the severity of disease and the mortality varied. These findings indicate that ADV is the direct causal agent of this disease in mink kits and that cofactors, which could have been present in the original ADV-K isolate, do not play a role. Acute interstitial pneumonia characterized by hypertrophy and hyperplasia of alveolar type II cells, intranuclear viral inclusions, interstitial edema, and hyaline membrane formation was experimentally reproduced in mink kits infected as newborns with five different isolates of ADV. Four hundred forty-nine newborn mink kits were included in the study, of which 247 were necropsied. The lesions caused by the different isolates were indistinguishable by histopathologic examination, but the incidence (50-100%) and severity (mortality of 30-100%, n = 218) of disease among the mink kits varied. Also, the content of ADV antigens in the lungs of infected kits varied among the groups. According to these features, the examined isolates could be placed in groups of high and low virulence. ADV-K, ADV-Utah I, and ADV-DK were in a highly virulent group producing a mortality of 90-100% (n = 110) in mink inoculated as newborns. ADV-GL and ADV-Pullman belonged to a group of low virulence, with an incidence of clinical disease of 50-70% and a mortality of approximately 30-50% (n = 118) in kits inoculated as newborns. The mortality in the control group receiving a mock inoculum was around 12% (n = 34). The period from infection to development of fatal disease varied from approximately 12 days for the highly virulent isolates up to around 20 days for the isolates of low virulence. The 107 mink kits that survived inoculation with ADV as newborns developed lesions typical of classical Aleutian disease irrespective of the ADV isolate used. The lesions consisted of chronic immune complex-mediated glomerulonephritis and infiltrations with mononuclear cells, including plasma cells in lung, liver, spleen, kidney, mesenteric lymph node, and intestine. Surviving kits also had hypertrophy of the bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue and focal subpleural, intraalveolar accumulations of large cells with foamy cytoplasm, so-called lipid pneumonia.
Veterinary Pathology, 1994, Vol 31, Issue 2, p. 216-228