June 6, 2013

Oregon wolf dies from parvovirus and more wildlife disease related news stories


Field Reports: Oregon wolf dies from parvovirus

The first case of parvovirus in Oregon wolves has been documented by the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. The wolf known as OR19, found dead by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists on May 19, died of complications of canine parvovirus, according to the lab’s preliminary report.

The Spokeman-Review
02 Jun 2013
Location: Oregon, USA - Map It  

Tracking vultures for pollution sources

...three bird researchers spent their mornings recently huddled in a fly-ridden blind overlooking three piles of rotting calf carcasses because they think vultures are nature's sentinels.

They rigged the carcasses with fishing-line nooses to trap one of the continent's most widespread scavengers and learn from it what ails the land. They hope that by tracking the movements of a bird that is common and has an "ironclad stomach" for pollutants, they can zero in on sources of lead and pesticides that have nearly wiped out more sensitive birds.

And by mapping their flights, they can prescribe ways to save ecosystems that stretch across hemispheres — while the birds are plentiful. "We're not chasing the ambulances," said Keith Bildstein, conservation-science director for Hawk Mountain, a Pennsylvania raptor center that is leading the study. "We're trying to prevent the accidents." When vulture populations crash, it's an ugly sight.

News Herald
01 Jun 2013
B Loomis

Deadly combination caused mass marine deaths, not desal plant, says official report

A deadly combination of high water temperatures, algal blooms and a virus caused the mass fish and dolphin deaths over the past three months, according to an official report that clears the desalination plant of any blame

A tiny, spiny diatom was among the culprits for the fish kills, lodging barbs in fish gills leading to inflammation and death.

A multi-agency investigation which included pathology tests found some weaker fish became susceptible to lethal bacterial infection due to high water temperature and harmful algae.

It also concluded that dolphin Morbillivirus was almost certainly the underlying cause of the death of the 34 mostly young dolphins discovered since March 1, causing an immune suppression which allowed fungal and parasite infections to thrive. Post-mortems conducted on five of the dolphins so far confirmed the presence of the disease.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Gail Gago said no single water quality or pollution point source was found responsible for the geographically extensive series of events.

Australian News
01 Jun 2013

The Rise of Ranavirus: An Emerging Pathogen Threatens Ecotothermic Vertebrates

Ranaviruses have been called “cold-blooded killers” (Chinchar 2002) for good reason — they are capable of causing illness and death in three ectothermic vertebrate classes (amphibians, reptiles, and fish). Experiments have also demonstrated that the virus can be passed among these groups (called interclass transmission; Bandin and Dopazo 2011), likely facilitating its persistence in aquatic systems. Ranaviruses were discovered in the 1960s (Granoff et al. 1965), yet their role in widespread die-offs of ectothermic vertebrates wasn’t realized until the 1990s (Gray et al. 2009). Researchers are now racing to determine what makes ranaviruses so virulent and capable of infecting so many hosts (Lesbarrères et al. 2012).

We’ve been in that race for eight years after detecting ranavirus in frog communities in Tennessee farm ponds. We found that green frog (Lithobates clamitans) tadpoles in ponds with cattle access were 4.7 times more likely to be infected with ranavirus than those in ponds with no cattle (Gray et al. 2007). Although many factors may have contributed to this trend, we suspect that poor water quality (a stressor) and minimal vegetation (which increases contact rates among individuals) in cattle-access ponds played a role.

The Wildlife Society News
17 Mar 2013
MJ Gray and DL Miller

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