Canine distemper outbreak modeled in an animal shelter

  • Ashley Dantzler Mathematics Department, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN, USA
  • Margaux Hujoel Mathematics Department, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA, USA
  • Virginia Parkman Mathematics Department, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Ayana Wild Mathematics Department, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN, USA
  • Suzanne Lenhart Mathematics Department, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Benjamin Levy Mathematics Department, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • Rebecca Wilkes College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA, USA
Keywords: Canine distemper, infectious disease modelling, basic reproductive number, ordinary differential equations


Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a highly contagious virus that can cause outbreaks, specifically in crowding situations, such as an animal shelter, in which a large number of susceptible dogs are brought together. Introduction of this virus into a shelter can have devastating effects, potentially resulting in shelter canine depopulation. Motivated by recent outbreaks in Tennessee, a mathematical model was constructed to find relevant factors that could assist in preventing or reducing outbreaks. A system of ordinary differential equations was derived to represent the spread of CDV through susceptible, exposed, infected and recovered (S–E–I–R) classes as well as a vaccinated (V) class. Our model was adapted to represent a local Knoxville shelter. The effects of various control methods, both preventative and corrective, on disease spread were investigated.

How to Cite
Dantzler, Ashley, Margaux Hujoel, Virginia Parkman, Ayana Wild, Suzanne Lenhart, Benjamin Levy, and Rebecca Wilkes. 2016. “Canine Distemper Outbreak Modeled in an Animal Shelter”. Letters in Biomathematics 3 (1), 13-28.