11401 NE 195th St. Bothell, WA  98011

(425) 486-9000 PHONE  (425) 486-9002 fax


The Merial Purevax vaccine, which is the only canine distemper vaccine currently labeled as safe for ferrets, has been out of production for well over a year. We do not know when, or if, it will be available again. As a result, we are now carrying the Nobivac DPv vaccine for our ferret patients. This vaccine contains the vaccine distemper strain formerly available as “Galaxy D,” and also vaccinates against canine parvovirus (which ferrets do not get). Nobivac DPv has been used extensively in Europe to vaccinate ferrets for distemper. Although it has not been scientifically evaluated for either safety or efficacy in ferrets, it is the most “proven” vaccine available.




Why isn’t Merial making the Purevax vaccine anymore?

We don’t know, as the company has not given us a specific reason. Merial recently confirmed that the Purevax vaccine will not be available in 2014, but has not yet stated if the vaccine is being permanently discontinued. You are welcome to contact Merial if you would like more information

Why has the Nobivac DPv vaccine not been offered before now?

We have been hoping that Merial would start producing the Purevax vaccine again. We would prefer to use a product that is licensed for use in ferrets, has a scientifically proven safety record, and does not contain any other virus strains besides the distemper virus. However, at this point, it seems unlikely that Merial will be producing the vaccine any time in the near future. We want to make sure that our clients have been offered the Nobivac DPv vaccine as an alternative.

Could other canine distemper vaccines be used for ferrets?

Ferrets are very sensitive to the canine distemper virus, and could potentially become sick with this disease if given the virus strains present in other vaccines. The Galaxy D strain in Nobivac DPv has been used safely in ferrets.

What do you mean, Nobivac DPv contains the canine parvovirus? Could this make my ferret sick?

There are no reports in the scientific literature of ferrets becoming ill after exposure to the canine parvovirus through Nobivac DPv. This vaccine has not been specifically tested for safety in ferrets; however, it has been used extensively in Europe with no reported ill effects.

There is always a possibility that your ferret could have a reaction to any vaccine.   We recommend giving the rabies vaccine separately from the Nobivac DPv vaccine so that we can determine which vaccine causes a reaction (if a reaction occurs). Depending on the ferret, we may also recommend premedication with injectable anti-histamines to reduce the risk of a reaction. We always require that ferrets stay at our hospital for 20-30 minutes after being vaccinated so that if a reaction occurs, a doctor is available to immediately address it.

What are my options if I don’t want to have my ferret vaccinated with Nobivac DPv?

Do I have to pay anything additional for the Nobivac DPv vaccine if I have already paid for the Purevax vaccine?


If I haven’t paid for the Purevax vaccine, how much will the Nobivac DPv vaccine cost?


March 30, 2015

Content of this Care Sheet Courtesy of:

The Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine 

11401 NE 195th St. Bothell, WA  98011

(425) 486-9000 PHONE  (425) 486-9002 fax