Serum specimens from 42 normal dogs and 42 with untreated malignant tumours were assayed for the presence of antibodies to human adenovirus types 5, 21 and 31 and to infectious canine hepatitis (ICH) virus. Radioimmunoassays using human adenovirus antigens showed that 71 per cent (30/42) of all dogs with tumours, but only 19 per cent (8/42) of all normal dogs, were positive for human adenovirus antibody. Canine sera reactive with antigens of one human adenovirus type in radioimmunoassays were also reactive with antigens of the other two types. Dogs bearing malignant lymphoma or squamous cell carcinoma tumours had higher levels of antibody against adenovirus type 5 antigens. Human adenovirus type 5 was neutralised by sera from four tumour-bearing and two normal dogs, while sera from two normal and five tumour-bearing dogs were positive in immunodiffusion tests with human adenovirus antigens. Levels of ICH antibody in sera of normal adult dogs and adult dogs with tumours were not markedly different when measured by radioimmunoassays. Likewise, sera from these two groups of dogs had similar ranges of ICH neutralising antibody titres. In contrast, levels of ICH antibody detected by the serological assays in sera from non-pet, non-vaccinated pups were either markedly low or absent. Possible explanations for the observed increased levels of human adenovirus antibody in sera of tumour-bearing canine pets are discussed.
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