June 1, 2012

In the Spotlight: Past Disease Investigation from Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS)

A Wildlife Disease Case Study from SCWDS Briefs
April 2012 Issue

Polyarthritis in Raccoons

Since late 2010, SCWDS has received raccoons with polyarthritis from rehabilitation facilities in Kentucky and Virginia. The animals had multiple swollen joints, often with abscesses in adjacent tissues, and soft tissues associated with the lesions were inflamed and contained purulent material.

Within affected joints, synovial structures were inflamed and necrotic with fibrinous exudate. A normal (Figure 1) and arthritic stifle (Figure 2) from the same raccoon are shown below.

Typical rule-outs for polyarthritis in wild and domestic animals include sepsis (overwhelming bacteria in the blood stream), some tick-borne diseases, Mycoplasma sp. infection, trauma, and some immune-mediated diseases. In free-ranging animals with multiple swollen joints and no signs of trauma, sepsis is the most likely cause; however, in these cases there was no evidence of sepsis or trauma.

Samples submitted for culture of Mycoplasma spp., aerobic, and anaerobic bacteria tested negative. With PCR, all but one of the samples from affected raccoons tested positive for Mycoplasma sp., and the sequences from PCR positives were identical.

Comparison with Mycoplasma sp. isolates in GenBank® strongly suggested that this was an undescribed Mycoplasma sp. that was most closely related to Mycoplasma spp. found in the upper respiratory tract of bottle-nosed dolphins, Mycoplasma equigenitalium associated with congenital disorders and infertility in horses, and Mycoplasma elephantis....

Source: SCWDS Briefs – A Quarterly Newsletter from the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study College of Veterinary Medicine - April 2012, Vol.28, No. 1 [pdf]

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