Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center

Truro, United Kingdom

Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center

Truro, United Kingdom
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PubMed | University of Aarhus, Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center, Imperial College London, ALKA Wildlife and 6 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Parasitology international | Year: 2015

The recent identification of Pseudamphistomum truncatum, (Rudolphi, 1819) (Trematoda: Opisthorchiidae) and Metorchis bilis (Braun, 1790) Odening, 1962 (synonymous with Metorchis albidus (Braun, 1893) Loos, 1899 and Metorchis crassiusculus (Rudolphi, 1809) Looss, 1899 (Trematoda: Opisthorchiidae)) in otters from Britain caused concern because of associated biliary damage, coupled with speculation over their alien status. Here, we investigate the presence, intensity and phylogeny of these trematodes in mustelids (principally otters) across Europe (Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Poland and Sweden and Britain). The trematodes were identified to species using the internal transcribed spacer II (ITS2) locus. Both parasites were found across Europe but at unequal frequency. In the German state of Saxony, eight out of eleven (73%) otters examined were infected with P. truncatum whilst this parasite was not found in either mink from Scotland (n=40) or otters from Norway (n=21). Differences in the phylogenies between the two species suggest divergent demographic histories possibly reflecting contrasting host diet or competitive exclusion, with M. bilis exhibiting greater mitochondrial diversity than P. truncatum. Shared haplotypes within the ranges of both parasite species probably reflect relatively unrestricted movements (both natural and anthropogenic) of intermediate and definitive hosts across Europe.


Robinson R.A.,British Trust for Ornithology | Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | Toms M.P.,British Trust for Ornithology | Peck K.M.,The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | And 13 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Emerging infectious diseases are increasingly cited as threats to wildlife, livestock and humans alike. They can threaten geographically isolated or critically endangered wildlife populations; however, relatively few studies have clearly demonstrated the extent to which emerging diseases can impact populations of common wildlife species. Here, we report the impact of an emerging protozoal disease on British populations of greenfinch Carduelis chloris and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, two of the most common birds in Britain. Morphological and molecular analyses showed this to be due to Trichomonas gallinae. Trichomonosis emerged as a novel fatal disease of finches in Britain in 2005 and rapidly became epidemic within greenfinch, and to a lesser extent chaffinch, populations in 2006. By 2007, breeding populations of greenfinches and chaffinches in the geographic region of highest disease incidence had decreased by 35% and 21% respectively, representing mortality in excess of half a million birds. In contrast, declines were less pronounced or absent in these species in regions where the disease was found in intermediate or low incidence. Also, populations of dunnock Prunella modularis, which similarly feeds in gardens, but in which T. gallinae was rarely recorded, did not decline. This is the first trichomonosis epidemic reported in the scientific literature to negatively impact populations of free-ranging noncolumbiform species, and such levels of mortality and decline due to an emerging infectious disease are unprecedented in British wild bird populations. This disease emergence event demonstrates the potential for a protozoan parasite to jump avian host taxonomic groups with dramatic effect over a short time period. © 2010 Robinson et al.


Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | De Pinna E.,Public Health England | Horton R.A.,Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency | Macgregor S.K.,Zoological Society of London | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The importance of wild bird populations as a reservoir of zoonotic pathogens is well established. Salmonellosis is a frequently diagnosed infectious cause of mortality of garden birds in England and Wales, predominantly caused by Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhimurium definitive phage types 40, 56(v) and 160. In Britain, these phage types are considered highly host-adapted with a high degree of genetic similarity amongst isolates, and in some instances are clonal. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis, however, demonstrated minimal variation amongst matched DT40 and DT56(v) isolates derived from passerine and human incidents of salmonellosis across England in 2000-2007. Also, during the period 1993-2012, similar temporal and spatial trends of infection with these S. Typhimurium phage types occurred in both the British garden bird and human populations; 1.6% of all S. Typhimurium (0.2% of all Salmonella) isolates from humans in England and Wales over the period 2000-2010. These findings support the hypothesis that garden birds act as the primary reservoir of infection for these zoonotic bacteria. Most passerine salmonellosis outbreaks identified occurred at and around feeding stations, which are likely sites of public exposure to sick or dead garden birds and their faeces. We, therefore, advise the public to practise routine personal hygiene measures when feeding wild birds and especially when handling sick wild birds. © 2014 Crown Copyright.


Lawson B.,UK Institute of Zoology | Robinson R.A.,British Trust for Ornithology | Colvile K.M.,UK Institute of Zoology | Peck K.M.,Royal Society for the Protection of Birds | And 5 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2012

Finch trichomonosis, caused by the protozoal parasite Trichomonas gallinae, was first recognized as an emerging infectious disease of British passerines in 2005. The first year of seasonal epidemic mortality occurred in 2006 with significant declines of greenfinch Carduelis chloris and chaffinch Fringilla coelebs populations. Here, we demonstrate that large-scale mortality, principally of green-finch, continued in subsequent years, 2007-2009, with a shifting geographical distribution across the British Isles over time. Consequent to the emergence of finch trichomonosis, the breeding greenfinch population in Great Britain has declined from ca 4.3 million to ca 2.8 million birds and the maximum mean number of greenfinches (a proxy for flock size) visiting gardens has declined by 50 per cent. The annual rate of decline of the breeding greenfinch population within England has exceeded 7 per cent since the initial epidemic. Although initially chaffinch populations were regionally diminished by the disease, this has not continued. Retrospective analyses of disease surveillance data showed a rapid, widespread emergence of finch trichomonosis across Great Britain in 2005 and we hypothesize that the disease emerged by T. gallinae jumping from columbiforms to passeriforms. Further investigation is required to determine the continuing impact of finch trichomonosis and to develop our understanding of how protozoal diseases jump host species. © 2012 The Royal Society.


PubMed | Moredun Research Institute, Hospital Universitario, Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.) | Year: 2016

Leprosy, caused by infection with Mycobacterium leprae or the recently discovered Mycobacterium lepromatosis, was once endemic in humans in the British Isles. Red squirrels in Great Britain (Sciurus vulgaris) have increasingly been observed with leprosy-like lesions on the head and limbs. Using genomics, histopathology, and serology, we found M. lepromatosis in squirrels from England, Ireland, and Scotland, and M. leprae in squirrels from Brownsea Island, England. Infection was detected in overtly diseased and seemingly healthy animals. Phylogenetic comparisons of British and Irish M. lepromatosis with two Mexican strains from humans show that they diverged from a common ancestor around 27,000 years ago, whereas the M. leprae strain is closest to one that circulated in Medieval England. Red squirrels are thus a reservoir for leprosy in the British Isles.


PubMed | The Paddock, Moredun Research Institute, Institute Ganaderia Of Montana Csic Ule and Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center
Type: | Journal: BMC veterinary research | Year: 2016

Stoat (Mustela erminea) and weasel (Mustela nivalis) populations in south-west England are declining whilst polecats (Mustela putorius), absent for over a century, are increasing. Little is known about the health status of these species nationally. This study aimed at investigating respiratory disease in specimens found dead in south-west England.Trauma caused by road traffic, predator attack or being trapped was the predominant cause of death in 42 stoats, 31 weasels and 20 polecats; most were in good physical condition. Skrjabingylus nasicola was present in all species (weasels 37%, polecats 39%, stoats 41%) and infected animals showed no evidence of loss of body condition. Even in carcases stored frozen L1 larvae were frequently alive and highly motile. Angiostrongylus vasorum infection was diagnosed in two stoats and one weasel: in stoats infections were patent and the lung lesions were likely of clinical significance. These are believed to be the first records of A. vasorum in small mustelids. Pleuritis and pyothorax was seen in two polecats, in one case due to a migrating grass awn. Histological examination of lungs showed granulomata in stoats (38%), weasels (52%) and polecats (50%). Spherules consistent with Emmonsia spp. adiaspores were present in the granulomata of stoats (60%), weasels (36%) and polecats (29%). Adiaspore diameter in all three species was similar (means: stoats 39 m, weasels 30 m, polecats 36 m); these are markedly smaller than that normally recorded for E. crescens. Although they lie within the accepted range for spores of Emmonsia parva this arid-zone species is not found in Britain, thus raising a question over the identity of the fungus. Cases showing numerous granulomata but few or no adiaspores were Ziehl-Neelsen-stain negative for acid-fast bacilli and IHC negative for Mycobacterium spp. However, in some cases PCR analyses revealed mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium kumamotonense and Mycobacterium avium Complex. One stoat had numerous unidentified small organisms present centrally within granulomata.Stoats, weasels and polecats in south-west England share several respiratory diseases, often of high prevalence, but the pathology would appear insufficient to impact on the health status of the populations and other ultimate causes of death should be investigated when examining these species.


Chadwick E.A.,University of Cardiff | Simpson V.R.,Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center | Nicholls A.E.L.,University of Cardiff | Slater F.M.,University of Cardiff
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

The uptake of contaminants by biota varies spatially and temporally due to a complex range of interacting environmental variables, but such complexities are typically disregarded in studies of temporal change. Here, we use linear modeling to explore spatial and temporal variation in bone Pb levels measured in samples taken from 329 Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) found dead in southwest England. Between 1992 and 2004 Pb levels in otters fell by 73%, following UK legislative control of Pb emissions implemented since the mid 1980s. Spatial variation in bone Pb was positively correlated with modeled Pb emissions and stream sediment Pb, which interacted negatively with wind-speed and sediment Ca, respectively. Opportunistic collection of samples from wildlife mortalities provided a valuable opportunity for monitoring environmental contamination, interpretation of which was aided by spatially explicit analysis of environmental variables. © 2011 American Chemical Society.


Richards N.L.,Anglia Ruskin University | Cook G.,Anglia Ruskin University | Simpson V.,Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center | Hall S.,Anglia Ruskin University | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2011

The pervasiveness of pharmaceuticals such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in the aquatic ecosystem through the discharge of wastewater, and their potential to biomagnify within this ecosystem, is now recognised. Residues of diclofenac and ibuprofen are currently being detected in surface waters and aquatic organisms throughout the UK and Europe. However, the levels of these residues in fish and other aquatic organisms, particularly lower trophic level prey species, have not yet been determined. While exposure to diclofenac is known to adversely affect fish, the degree to which other aquatic organisms are exposed and impacted through continuous ingestion of contaminated prey and interaction with the aquatic habitat remains unknown. The extent and effects of exposure to ibuprofen also remain largely unknown. As an exploratory subset of a broader study to investigate the detectability of diclofenac in alternative biological matrices, we analysed hair samples from Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra, n = 28) for residues of the two NSAIDs using GC-MS. The otters were collected from six counties in England as part of an ongoing otter health monitoring project at the Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Centre in Chacewater, UK. Diclofenac was qualitatively detected in five hair wash and 15 extract samples, and ibuprofen was determined to be present in at least two of the hair extract samples. Here, we provide preliminary evidence that otters are exposed to both NSAIDs and argue for further studies to identify residue loads in the otters and their prey to fully assess the pervasiveness of these compounds and potential risks of ongoing exposure to them. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Harrington L.A.,University of Oxford | Gelling M.,University of Oxford | Simpson V.,Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center | Harrington A.,University of Oxford | Macdonald D.W.,University of Oxford
European Journal of Wildlife Research | Year: 2012

Haematological and serum biochemistry values were determined for 13 adult, free-living American mink, Neovison vison, in southern England live trapped as part of a longer term research project. Serum samples were tested for the presence of antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, Aleutian disease virus (ADV) and canine distemper virus (CDV). Animals were examined to assess ectoparasite burden; faecal samples were examined for the presence of gut parasites and bacteria (identified via culture). Post-mortem examinations were carried out on four individuals shot during on-going control operations. Haematological and serum biochemistry values for most individuals were similar to published values for captive mink. Neutrophil/lymphocyte ratios were high in two animals (possibly due to trap-associated stress). Three individuals had high levels of creatinine, urea and the liver enzymes, alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatise and gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase. Six of 12 mink tested positive for antibodies to T. gondii and 8 of 12 tested positive for antibodies to ADV; none tested positive for antibodies to CDV. No significant bacteria or parasites were detected in faecal samples. Post-mortem examinations in three cases showed no significant lesions but the fourth animal had Skrjabingylus nasicola nematodes in the nasal passages, lung lesions suggestive of adiaspiromycosis, cholangiohepatitis possibly indicative of Pseudamphistomum truncatum infection and tubulointerstitial nephritis associated with renal calculi. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.


PubMed | Wildlife Veterinary Investigation Center
Type: | Journal: BMC veterinary research | Year: 2013

The red squirrel population in Great Britain has declined dramatically in recent decades, principally due to squirrelpox. Concern exists that red squirrels may become extinct nationally and, as there has been limited research in to diseases other than squirrelpox, this study aimed to identify additional causes of mortality.Post-mortem examinations on 163 red squirrels found dead on Isle of Wight (IoW) England, in Scotland and at other locations in Great Britain showed that 41.7% (n=68) were killed by road traffic and 9.2% (n=15) by predators, principally domestic cats and dogs. The overall male/female ratio was 1.08/1. Fleas were recorded on 34.9% of IoW squirrels and on 43.8% of Scottish squirrels but sucking lice and ixodid ticks were only seen on Scottish squirrels. Bacterial infections were significant, particularly in association with respiratory disease (n=16); two squirrels died of Bordetella bronchiseptica bronchopneumonia. Cases of fatal exudative dermatitis (n=5) associated with a lukM-positive clone of Staphylococcus aureus occurred only on the IoW. Toxoplasmosis (n=12) was also confined to IoW where it was responsible for almost one tenth (9.5%) of all deaths. Hepatozoonosis was common, especially in IoW squirrels, but was not considered a primary cause of mortality. Hepatic capillariasis affected four IoW squirrels and one from Scotland. Fungal infections included oral candidiasis, adiaspiromycosis and pulmonary phaeohyphomycosis. Neoplastic conditions diagnosed were: pulmonary carcinoma, gastric spindle cell tumour, renal papillary adenoma and trichoepithelioma. Epidermal hyperplasia of unknown aetiology was seen in squirrels showing crusty lesions of the ear pinnae on IoW (n=3) and Brownsea Island (n=1), associated in two cases with cutaneous wart-like growths. Miscellaneous diagnoses included chylothorax, electrocution, intussusception, suspected cholecalciferol rodenticide poisoning and foetal death and mummification. No cases of squirrelpox were diagnosed.Red squirrels in Britain suffer premature or unnatural mortality due to a number of conditions in addition to squirrelpox, many of which result, directly or indirectly, from human activities: road traffic trauma, pet predation, toxoplasmosis, trap injuries, rodenticide poisoning and electrocution accounted for 61% of all recorded mortality in this study. Red squirrels are also affected by several diseases of unknown aetiology which merit further research.

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