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Wildlife Diseases An overview of selected examples (with tests of your wildlife forensic skills!). Many diseases can exist as chronic, often low-level.

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Presentation on theme: "Wildlife Diseases An overview of selected examples (with tests of your wildlife forensic skills!). Many diseases can exist as chronic, often low-level."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wildlife Diseases An overview of selected examples (with tests of your wildlife forensic skills!). Many diseases can exist as chronic, often low-level infections (enzootic) or as rapidly-spreading, erruptive infections (epizootic)

2 Botfly larvae Ugly but not lethal! Text example: Problem: Hunter reaction Management: Season Start

3 Papilloma/fibroma viruses (warts) Ugly but not lethal unless disrupt vision etc Usually attacked by immune system

4 Avian Pox (Virus) Vector = Mosquito or contact

5 Mange – caused by mites usually nonlethal, Sarcoptic mange Can be lethal Outbreaks in wild canids in N. America May be of concern for small populations or pop’s of special concern

6 Dead rabbits or rabbits acting lethargic, easily approached, or having trouble running A wildlife forensics quiz

7 Symptoms: Hunters should be very suspicious of "lazy" rabbits which are easily killed Treatment/Management: See text example Human Concerns: Can be deadly in humans. Rubber gloves should probably be worn when dressing rabbits. The meat of these animals should be thoroughly cooked. Transmission: bloodsucking arthropods; In U.S., rabbits source of infection in 90% of human cases of tularemia, 70% of which result from contacts with cottontails. Jackrabbits are an important source of infection in some areas, but are a minor factor nationally. Snowshoe hares comprise less than 1% of the source of human infection. Toxin or Tularemia - bacterial infection

8 Dead birds, especially members of the crow/jay family (corvids)

9 Toxin or West Nile Virus (WNV) Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) Meningitis (inflammation of the lining of brain and spinal cord). Transmission: mosquitos Symptoms: uncoordinated walking, weakness, lethargy, tremors, and abnormal head posture. Although crows and blue jays account for between 50 and 90 percent of reported avian cases, WNV infection has been identified in over 170 other avian species across North America. Treatment/Management: monitoring, mosquito eradication Human Concerns: When the level of virus transmission among birds and mosquitoes becomes high, horses and humans can be incidentally infected. Only 1% of humans bitten actually become infected.

10 Emaciated, slobbering, wide-legged stance, poor coordination

11 If Cervid, Chronic Wasting Disease CWD Agent: prion Prion proteins can be passed in predator feces, decaying matter, etc. Prions cause conformational change in other proteins. These are slow to build-up, explaining the time required for symptoms to develop First recorded in deer in Colorado, has spread to many western states and recently to Wisconsin Attacks central nervous system, leads to emaciation and eventual death Transmission: unknown Treatment/Management: Monitoring of brain tissue and containment Restricted transport of live cervids, and import of nervous tissue Reducing density of deer in infected areas Human concerns: avoid contact with nervous tissue

12 Malnutrition Symptoms: Emaciation, lethargic, unsteady, reduced fear response Don’t rule out other potential factors.

13 Mass waterfowl deaths, waterfowl weak, easily approached, may act partially paralyzed

14 Avian cholera – bacteria Transmission: spread by contact between healthy and ill birds, in an environment contaminated with Pasteurella organisms. Environmental correlates: Stress appears to be an important factor in breaking down the bird's resistance. Cold, damp weather predisposes birds to this disease and outbreaks are generally seen during the winter months in overwintering waterfowl flocks. Symptoms: Convulsions, uncoordinated fluttering, stiffness and rapid breathing. Respiratory sound, sneezing and sticky nasal discharges are sometimes observed. Treatment/Management: : reduce population build-ups, drain infected areas, kill infected populations - controversial! Human concerns: not transferred to humans

15 Avian Botulism- toxin produced by Botulinum anaerobic bacteria The Salt Lake Tribune Article Last Updated:10/05/2006 12:52:37 AM MDT Utah wildlife officials are reporting that an outbreak of type C avian botulism has killed between 10,000 and 15,000 ducks and shorebirds statewide, with the majority of the dead birds on marshes of the Great Salt Lake. "During an aerial count in the middle of September, we estimated about 6,000 dead birds," said Tom Aldrich, (DWR). Ecological Correlates: High temps and lots of decaying “meat” as bacterial food source, fluctuating water levels, pesticide kills, etc. Transmission: Waterfowl ingest toxin from substrate or ingest maggots that magnified toxin concentrations Other Symptoms: paralysis of infected animals Treatment/Management: Control amt of decaying matter Control water fluctuations Remove carcasses rapidly Remove powerlines over water (collision kills) Human concerns: toxin destroyed in cooking meat

16 Avian Plague (Duck Viral Enteritus) (DVE) Herpes virus - Entered US in 1972, cases growing since. Differentially impacts specific species pintails resistant, blue-winged teal highly susceptible Ecological correlates: not known Symptoms: Listless, loss of appetite, bloody discharge from the bill and vent, watery diarrhea Transmission : contact Treatment/Management: Contain or destroy infected flocks – controversial!!! Text example in California Human concerns: not transferred to humans

17 In waterfowl a dose as small as 1 pellet can result in anemia, while 5 or more pellets can result in death due to heart attack or muscle paralysis. Symptoms: lowered food intake, weakness, weight loss, drooping wings, inability to fly, and green watery diarrhea. Necropsy may reveal a cracked, green-stained, peeling gizzard lining, with or without lead shot present. Treatment/Management:: Chelation of infected birds (lead-binding chemicals). Shift to steel shot has greatly reduced this in USA Fishing sinkers still problematic MERCURY Great Salt Lake: For teal and shovelers, adults should eat no more than two 8-ounce meals per month, and young children and women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should have no more than one 4-ounce meal per month, the advisory says. Women of child-bearing age and children should not eat goldeneye at all, while other adults ought to limit their consumption to one 8-ounce meal of goldeneye a month. Lead Poisoning

18 Spasmodic twitching and muscle quivering, body trembling. Convulsions and/or blind staggers. Jerkiness in gait, tremors, and convulsions Convulsions, uncoordinated fluttering, stiffness and rapid breathing, listlessness, shivering Listless, loss of appetite, may have a bloody discharge from the bill and vent, develop a great thirst and exhibit a watery diarrhea. Uncoordinated walking, weakness, lethargy, tremors, and abnormal head posture Note that symptoms for differing diseases often similar: e.g. Avian botulism, cholera, DVE, lead poisoning, Often disease may have key symptom, but not always expressed

19 Aspergillosus – Fungal Ecological correlates: moisture favoring moldy grain, grass Transmission: Inhalation of fungal spores Symptoms: Weak, emaciated, gasping, fungal tissue in respiratory tract Treatment/management: removal of moldy food sources (bird feeders, crops in fields) Human Concerns: can inhale spores from air sacs but usually dangerous only to those already immunocompromised

20 Free-living birds in the orders Anseriformes (ducks, geese, swans) and Charadriiformes (gulls, terns, shore birds) have traditionally been considered the natural reservoirs for avian influenza viruses (AIVs) Before 2005, no evidence that highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was maintained in wild bird populations. In 2005, outbreaks involved large numbers of wild birds with subsequent spread of viruses to Europe and Africa probably by migratory birds. Many types of AIV’s, only some highly pathogenic. Low pathogenicity types present in most birds. HPAIVs may kill large numbers of domestic birds and potentially humans. Management: Monitoring and rapid response in destroying infected birds Avian Influenza (Bird Flu)

21 What are these suffering from? They look healthy to me…

22 Could be suffering: Brucellosis* Early malnutrition Early chronic wasting disease Liver flukes Lungworm Tapeworm Or a host of others! So not all animals, not all diseases show symptoms at all times *See text for this

23 Ultimately a manager must determine the role disease plays in the system they are managing by answering several basic questions: 1.Is it an important, natural, density dependent factor (dashed line) or is it density independent (solid line)? If density dependent could indicate crowding or increased stress in small populations

24 2.Does it affect the overall population health in a positive way? (the tapeworm-moose-wolf interaction described in text) Wolf Moose Tapeworm forms cysts in lungs Worse the older the moose gets Wolf feces with tapeworm eggs. Contaminate forage & water Wolf eats moose, ingests Result: Wolves prey more on older moose!

25 3.Is the disease an unnatural event due to human alteration of habitat, vectors, population densities or other factors? 4.Does the disease threaten the health or viability of populations of special concern? (e.g. Parvovirus and wolves, distemper and black-footed ferrets)


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