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A serosurvey of diseases of free-ranging gray wolves (Canis lupus) in Minnesota

February 24, 2017

We tested serum samples from 387 free-ranging wolves (Canis lupus) from 2007 to 2013 for exposure to eight canid pathogens to establish baseline data on disease prevalence and spatial distribution in Minnesota's wolf population. We found high exposure to canine adenoviruses 1 and 2 (88% adults, 45% pups), canine parvovirus (82% adults, 24% pups), and Lyme disease (76% adults, 39% pups). Sixty-six percent of adults and 36% of pups exhibited exposure to the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum. Exposure to arboviruses was confirmed, including West Nile virus (37% adults, 18% pups) and eastern equine encephalitis (3% adults). Exposure rates were lower for canine distemper (19% adults, 5% pups) and heartworm (7% adults, 3% pups). Significant spatial trends were observed in wolves exposed to canine parvovirus and Lyme disease. Serologic data do not confirm clinical disease, but better understanding of disease ecology of wolves can provide valuable insight into wildlife population dynamics and improve management of these species.

Publication Year 2017
Title A serosurvey of diseases of free-ranging gray wolves (Canis lupus) in Minnesota
DOI 10.7589/2016-06-140
Authors Michelle Carstensen, John H. Giudice, Erik C. Hildebrand, J. P. Dubey, John Erb, Dan Stark, John Hart, Shannon M. Barber-Meyer, L. David Mech, Steve K. Windels, Andrew J. Edwards
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Index ID 70182521
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center