Serological survey for diseases in free-ranging coyotes (Canis latrans) in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Gese, E.M., Schultz, R.D., Johnson, M.R., Williams, E.S., Crabtree, R.L and Ruff, R.L.

Journal of Wildlife Diseases, Vol. 33 Issue 1 pp. 47-56

1997

From October 1989 to June 1993, we captured and sampled 110 coyotes (Canis latrans) for various diseases in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (USA). Prevalence of antibodies against canine parvovirus (CPV) was 100% for adults (>24 months old), 100% for yearlings (12 to 24 months old), and 100% for old pups (4 to 12 months old); 0% of the young pups (<3 months old) had antibodies against CPV Presence of antibodies against canine distemper virus (CDV) was associated with the age of the coyote, with 88%, 54%, 23%, and 0% prevalence among adults, yearlings, old pups, and young pups, respectively. Prevalence of CDV antibodies declined over time from 100% in 1989 to 33% in 1992. The prevalence of canine infectious hepatitis (ICH) virus antibodies was 97%, 82%, 54%, and 33%, for adults, yearlings, old pups, and young pups, respectively. The percentage of coyotes with ICH virus antibodies also declined overtime from a high of 100% in 1989 to 31% in 1992, and 42% in 1993. Prevalence of antibodies against Yersinia pestis was 86%, 33%, 80%, and 7%, for adults, yearlings, old pups, and young pups, respectively, and changed over time from 57% in 1991 to 0% in 1993. The prevalence of antibodies against Francisella tularensis was 21%, 17%, 10%, and 20%, for adults, yearlings, old pups, and young pups, respectively. No coyotes had serologic evidence of exposure to brucellosis, either Brucella abortus or Brucella canis. No coyotes were seropositive to Leptospira interrogans (serovars canicola, hardjo, and icterohemorrhagiae). Prevalence of antibodies against L. interrogans serovar pomona was 7%, 0%, 0%, and 9%, for adults, yearlings, old pups, and young pups, respectively. Antibodies against L. interrogans serovar grippotyphosa were present in 17% of adults and 0% of yearlings, old pups, and young pups. Many infectious canine pathogens (CPV, CDV, ICH virus) are prevalent in coyotes in Yellowstone National Park, with CPV influencing coyote pup survival during the first 3 months of life; eight of 21 transmitted pups died of CPV infection in 1992. The potential impact of these canine pathogens on wolves (C. lupus) reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park remains to be documented.

Patrick Cross1997