Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center

Saskatoon, Canada

Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center

Saskatoon, Canada

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Pasick J.,Canadian Food Inspection Agency | Berhane Y.,Canadian Food Inspection Agency | Hisanaga T.,Canadian Food Inspection Agency | Kehler H.,Canadian Food Inspection Agency | And 5 more authors.
Avian Diseases | Year: 2010

In September 2007, an H7N3 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak (HPAI) occurred on a multiple-age broiler breeder operation near Regina Beach, Saskatchewan, Canada. Mortality was initially observed in a barn that housed 24-wk-old roosters, with later involvement of 32-wk-old breeders. All birds on the affected premises were destroyed, and surveillance of surrounding farms demonstrated no further spread. The use of water from a dugout pond during periods of high demand, and the proximity of the farm to Last Mountain Lake, the northern end of which is a bird sanctuary, implicated wild aquatic birds as a possible source of the virus. Of particular note, the H7-specific real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay that was in use at the time did not detect the virus associated with this outbreak. A Canadian national influenza A virus survey of wild aquatic birds detected no H7 subtype viruses in 2005 and 2006; however, H7 subtype viruses were detected in the fall of 2007. Phylogenetic analysis of a number of these H7 isolates demonstrated an evolutionary relationship with each other, as well as with the H7N3 HPAI virus that was isolated from the Saskatchewan broiler breeder farm. © 2010 American Association of Avian Pathologists.


Werden L.,University of Guelph | Werden L.,Parks Canada Agency | Barker I.K.,University of Guelph | Barker I.K.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

In the Thousand Islands region of eastern Ontario, Canada, Lyme disease is emerging as a serious health risk. The factors that influence Lyme disease risk, as measured by the number of blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) vectors infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, are complex and vary across eastern North America. Despite study sites in the Thousand Islands being in close geographic proximity, host communities differed and both the abundance of ticks and the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection in them varied among sites. Using this archipelago in a natural experiment, we examined the relative importance of various biotic and abiotic factors, including air temperature, vegetation, and host communities on Lyme disease risk in this zone of recent invasion. Deer abundance and temperature at ground level were positively associated with tick abundance, whereas the number of ticks in the environment, the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection, and the number of infected nymphs all decreased with increasing distance from the United States, the presumed source of this new endemic population of ticks. Higher species richness was associated with a lower number of infected nymphs. However, the relative abundance of Peromyscus leucopus was an important factor in modulating the effects of species richness such that high biodiversity did not always reduce the number of nymphs or the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection. Our study is one of the first to consider the interaction between the relative abundance of small mammal hosts and species richness in the analysis of the effects of biodiversity on disease risk, providing validation for theoretical models showing both dilution and amplification effects. Insights into the B. burgdorferi transmission cycle in this zone of recent invasion will also help in devising management strategies as this important vector-borne disease expands its range in North America. © 2014 Werden et al.


Forzan M.J.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center | Forzan M.J.,University of Prince Edward Island | Vanderstichel R.,University of Prince Edward Island | Melekhovets Y.F.,HealthGene | And 2 more authors.
Canadian Veterinary Journal | Year: 2010

Trichomoniasis was diagnosed in multiple incidents of mortality in wild purple finch (Carpodacus purpureus) and American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) in the Canadian Maritimes. Birds exhibited regurgitation, emaciation, and hyperplastic oropharyngitis, ingluvitis, and esophagitis. Trichomonas gallinae was identified by histopathology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Trichomoniasis (trichomonosis) is an emerging disease in wild finches of eastern Canada.


Rothenburger J.L.,University of Saskatchewan | Himsworth C.G.,University of British Columbia | Himsworth C.G.,Animal Health Center | Treuting P.M.,University of Washington | And 2 more authors.
Veterinary Pathology | Year: 2015

Norway (Rattus norvegicus) and black rats (Rattus rattus) are common commensal pests, yet little is known about the ecology of wild rats, including their natural diseases. We describe microscopic cardiovascular pathology in a subset of a sample of 725 wild urban rats. Changes observed in the pulmonary blood vessels (n = 199) included arteriolar medial hypertrophy (20.1%, n = 40) and blood vessel mineralization (19.1%, n = 38). Microscopic changes in the heart (n = 200) included myocarditis (33.5%, n = 67), fibrosis (6.0%, n = 12), mineralization (9.5%, n = 19), myocardial degeneration (22.0%, n = 44), and right ventricular hypertrophy (4.5%, n = 9). Rats with myocarditis, fibrosis, or myocardial degeneration were grouped into a composite variable: cardiomyopathy. Statistical analysis showed that the odds of being affected by cardiomyopathy were greater in male rats (odds ratio [OR] = 2.49; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.12-5.55) and heavier rats (OR = 1.14; 95% CI = 1.09-1.20). The odds of pulmonary arteriolar medial hypertrophy was greater in sexually mature rats (OR = 2.35; 95% CI = 0.75-7.36), while the odds of pulmonary vessel mineralization were greater in heavier rats (OR = 1.07; 95% CI = 1.03-1.11) and in black rats (OR = 5.35; 95% CI = 1.62-17.69) compared to Norway rats. To our knowledge, this is the first detailed description of pathology in the cardiovascular system of wild rats and demonstrates that cardiovascular disease is common. The impact of these lesions on individual and population health remains to be investigated. © The Author(s) 2014.


Kutz S.J.,University of Calgary | Kutz S.J.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center | Checkley S.,University of Calgary | Verocai G.G.,University of Calgary | And 8 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Climate warming is occurring at an unprecedented rate in the Arctic and is having profound effects on host-parasite interactions, including range expansion. Recently, two species of protostrongylid nematodes have emerged for the first time in muskoxen and caribou on Victoria Island in the western Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Umingmakstrongylus pallikuukensis, the muskox lungworm, was detected for the first time in 2008 in muskoxen at a community hunt on the southwest corner of the island and by 2012, it was found several hundred kilometers east in commercially harvested muskoxen near the town of Ikaluktutiak. In 2010, Varestrongylus sp., a recently discovered lungworm of caribou and muskoxen was found in muskoxen near Ikaluktutiak and has been found annually in this area since then. Whereas invasion of the island by U. pallikuukensis appears to have been mediated by stochastic movement of muskoxen from the mainland to the southwest corner of the island, Varestrongylus has likely been introduced at several times and locations by the seasonal migration of caribou between the island and the mainland. A newly permissive climate, now suitable for completion of the parasite life cycles in a single summer, likely facilitated the initial establishment and now drives range expansion for both parasites. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Millins C.,University of Saskatchewan | Reid A.,Ontario Veterinary College | Curry P.,Saskatchewan Ministry of Health | Drebot M.A.,Public Health Agency of Canada | And 3 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2011

This study evaluated the use of house sparrow (Passer domesticus) nestlings as sentinels of West Nile virus (WNV) in the prairie grasslands of Saskatchewan. In the summer of 2006, 600 house sparrow nestlings were collected and pooled tissues tested by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. All tested negative for WNV. During the same period, no WNV was detected by mosquito surveillance in the study area and 15 WNV-infected pools were collected from the nearby city of Estevan. Six percent of avian carcasses collected from Regina, a city 100 km from the study area in the same ecozone, were infected with WNV. In 2007, 200 house sparrow nestlings were collected and 4 tested positive for WNV, a prevalence of 2%. Ninety-seven house sparrow eggs were also collected and WNV antibodies were measured in the yolk. Seven eggs had measurable titers, a prevalence of 7.2%. Combined WNV surveillance showed high levels of WNV transmission in 2007; 112 WNV-infected mosquito pools were collected from nearby cities of Estevan and Weyburn, and the proportion of WNV infected avian carcasses from Regina was 78%. There were 1456 human cases of WNV in Saskatchewan in 2007, compared to 19 cases in 2006. The study concluded that house sparrow nestlings are not useful as an early warning of WNV circulation, or as a measure of the intensity of WNV activity in the prairie grasslands. Also, the study determined that maternally derived antibody did not have a significant limiting effect on WNV transmission to house sparrow nestlings in 2007, a year of epidemic WNV activity in the study area. © Copyright 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Molnar P.K.,Princeton University | Dobson A.P.,Princeton University | Dobson A.P.,Santa Fe Institute | Kutz S.J.,University of Calgary | Kutz S.J.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Climate change is expected to alter the dynamics of host-parasite systems globally. One key element in developing predictive models for these impacts is the life cycle of the parasite. It is, for example, commonly assumed that parasites with an indirect life cycle would be more sensitive to changing environmental conditions than parasites with a direct life cycle due to the greater chance that at least one of their obligate host species will go extinct. Here, we challenge this notion by contrasting parasitic nematodes with a direct life cycle against those with an indirect life cycle. Specifically, we suggest that behavioral thermoregulation by the intermediate host may buffer the larvae of indirectly transmitted parasites against temperature extremes, and hence climate warming. We term this the 'shelter effect'. Formalizing each life cycle in a comprehensive model reveals a fitness advantage for the direct life cycle over the indirect life cycle at low temperatures, but the shelter effect reverses this advantage at high temperatures. When examined for seasonal environments, the models suggest that climate warming may in some regions create a temporal niche in mid-summer that excludes parasites with a direct life cycle, but allows parasites with an indirect life cycle to persist. These patterns are amplified if parasite larvae are able to manipulate their intermediate host to increase ingestion probability by definite hosts. Furthermore, our results suggest that exploiting the benefits of host sheltering may have aided the evolution of indirect life cycles. Our modeling framework utilizes the Metabolic Theory of Ecology to synthesize the complexities of host behavioral thermoregulation and its impacts on various temperature-dependent parasite life history components in a single measure of fitness, R0. It allows quantitative predictions of climate change impacts, and is easily generalized to many host-parasite systems. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Delnatte P.,University of Guelph | Ojkic D.,University of Guelph | DeLay J.,University of Guelph | Campbell D.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center | And 2 more authors.
Avian Pathology | Year: 2013

Nine hundred and fifty-five pathology cases collected in Ontario between 1992 and 2011 from wild free-ranging Canada geese, trumpeter swans and mute swans were retrospectively evaluated for the pathology associated with avian bornavirus (ABV) infection. Cases were selected based on the presence of upper gastrointestinal impaction, central nervous system histopathology or clinical history suggestive of ABV infection. The proportion of birds meeting at least one of these criteria was significantly higher at the Toronto Zoo (30/132) than elsewhere in Ontario (21/823). Central, peripheral and autonomic nervous tissues were examined for the presence of lymphocytes and plasma cells on histopathology. The presence of virus was assessed by immunohistochemistry and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on frozen brains and on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Among selected cases, 86.3% (44/51) were considered positive on histopathology, 56.8% (29/51) were positive by immunohistochemistry, and RT-PCR was positive on 88.2% (15/17) of the frozen brains and 78.4% (40/51) of the formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples. Histopathological lesions included gliosis and lymphoplasmacytic perivascular cuffing in brain (97.7%), spinal cord (50%), peripheral nerves (55.5%) and myenteric ganglia or nerves (62.8%), resembling lesions described in parrots affected with proventricular dilatation disease. Partial amino acid sequences of the nucleocapsid gene from seven geese were 100% identical amongst themselves and 98.1 to 100% identical to the waterfowl sequences recently described in the USA. Although ABV has been identified in apparently healthy geese, our study confirmed that ABV can also be associated with significant disease in wild waterfowl species. © 2013 Copyright Houghton Trust Ltd.


Forzan M.J.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center | Vanderstichel R.,University of Prince Edward Island | Hogan N.S.,University of Prince Edward Island | Teather K.,University of Prince Edward Island | Wood J.,Pisces Molecular LLC
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2010

Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has resulted in the decline or extinction of approximately 200 frog species worldwide. It has been reported throughout much of North America, but its presence on Prince Edward Island (PEI), on the eastern coast of Canada, was unknown. To determine the presence and prevalence of Bd on PEI, skin swabs were collected from 115 frogs from 18 separate sites across the province during the summer of 2009. The swabs were tested through single round end-point PCR for the presence of Bd DNA. Thirty-one frogs were positive, including 25/93 (27%) green frogs Lithobates (Rana) clamitans, 5/20 (25%) northern leopard frogs L. (R.) pipiens, and 1/2 (50%) wood frogs L. sylvaticus (formerly R. sylvatica); 12 of the 18 (67%) sites had at least 1 positive frog. The overall prevalence of Bd infection was estimated at 26.9% (7.2-46.7%, 95% CI). Prevalence amongst green frogs and leopard frogs was similar, but green frogs had a stronger PCR signal when compared to leopard frogs, regardless of age (p < 0.001) and body length (p = 0.476). Amongst green frogs, juveniles were more frequently positive than adults (p = 0.001). Green frogs may be the most reliable species to sample when looking for Bd in eastern North America. The 1 wood frog positive for Bd was found dead from chytridiomycosis; none of the other frogs that were positive for Bd by PCR showed any obvious signs of illness. Further monitoring will be required to determine what effect Bd infection has on amphibian population health on PEI. © Inter-Research 2010.


Rose H.,University of Bristol | Hoar B.,University of Calgary | Kutz S.J.,University of Calgary | Kutz S.J.,Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Center | Morgan E.R.,University of Bristol
International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife | Year: 2014

Global change, including climate, policy, land use and other associated environmental changes, is likely to have a major impact on parasitic disease in wildlife, altering the spatio-temporal patterns of transmission, with wide-ranging implications for wildlife, domestic animals, humans and ecosystem health. Predicting the potential impact of climate change on parasites infecting wildlife will become increasingly important in the management of species of conservation concern and control of disease at the wildlife-livestock and wildlife-human interface, but is confounded by incomplete knowledge of host-parasite interactions, logistical difficulties, small sample sizes and limited opportunities to manipulate the system. By exploiting parallels between livestock and wildlife, existing theoretical frameworks and research on livestock and their gastrointestinal nematodes can be adapted to wildlife systems. Similarities in the gastrointestinal nematodes and the life-histories of wild and domestic ruminants, coupled with a detailed knowledge of the ecology and life-cycle of the parasites, render the ruminant-GIN host-parasite system particularly amenable to a cross-disciplinary approach. © 2014 The Authors.

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