May 24, 2013

Breeding programs may send disease into wild and more wildlife disease news stories


Avian Cholera kills Thunder Bay turkeys

The mystery behind the deaths of some turkeys in the Mountain Road area seems to have been solved with the help of a wildlife pathologist. After a handful of turkeys suddenly died, some neighbours in the area were concerned the birds were poisoned.

But a Guelph pathologist with the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre who looked at the dead birds said the turkeys had bacteria called Avian Cholera. "We have very rarely seen infections with this bacterium in wild birds here in Ontario,” Doug Campbell said.

CBC News
21 May 2013
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada - Map It

Breeding programs may send disease into wild

Captive breeding programs of endangered animals have the potential to send disease out into vulnerable animal communities, a new study shows. The Australian research reveals brush-tail wallabies raised in a captive breeding program carry antibiotic resistance genes in their gut bacteria.

Dr Michelle Power, of Macquarie University, says when these animals are released they can transmit these antibiotic resistance genes into wild populations.

ABC Science
23 May 2013
D Cooper

Cited Journal Article
Power ML, Emery S, Gillings MR (2013) Into the Wild: Dissemination of Antibiotic Resistance Determinants via a Species Recovery Program. PLoS ONE 8(5): e63017. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063017

Lab to analyze dead bison tissue

A rising Yellowstone River may have stymied efforts to discover if anything unusual killed several bison near Yellowstone National Park. Over the weekend, Fish, Wildlife and Parks employees worked to get tissue samples from dead bison that were first reported along the river Thursday.

... Ramsey said she extracted samples from the bison’s major organs and sent them to the Department of Livestock laboratory for analysis. The results won’t be known for a week or two. “Nothing really stood out as unusual on the side of the bison that was above water. There was some blood in the abdomen near the pelvis, but I don’t know how that would play in,” Ramsey said. “The lab can look at the microscopic things we couldn’t see. Depending on what they find, they could send it on to another lab for further investigation.”

Ramsey said the results could end up being normal or the tissue could have been too waterlogged to provide good results. Samples from another animal might have helped, but they could find only the two bison.  Members of the Gallatin Wildlife Association voiced concerns about disease last week after dead bison started surfacing, especially after sheep were recently moved onto property upstream.

Sheep can carry malignant catarrhal fever, which is fatal to bison. The disease is related to herpes, and because it produces no ill effects in sheep, all sheep should be presumed to be carriers, according to the Alberta Sheep and Wool Commission.

Bozeman Daily Chronicle
21 May 2013
L Lundquist
Location: Gardiner, Montana, USA,  - Map It 

Deer hair-loss syndrome challenges California researchers; low fawn survival rate impacts population

Researchers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are studying a deer hair-loss syndrome across the state.

Wildlife experts are calling the issue “hair loss” but the real problem appears to be from the infestation of non-native lice and in some cases, a heavy infestation of internal parasites.

Symptoms range from a scruffy looking hair coat to near complete baldness. Hair-loss syndrome is also associated with poor nutritional condition, making it difficult for fawns to survive to replace the normal mortality in mature deer.

“Some of us speculate that the louse-infested deer spend so much time grooming they become easy targets of predation by coyotes or mountain lions,” said CDFW senior wildlife biologist, Greg Gerstenberg. “While this theory is still under investigation, what we do know is that the louse has impacted migratory populations of California deer which now have a low fawn survival rate, making it difficult to replenish the herd.”

The goal of the research is to understand why the lice infestations are appearing as well as to understand the full impacts of the non-native louse species and hair loss.

Lake County News
19 May 2013
Location: California, USA

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