Serum samples from 28 free-ranging Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi) and seven mountain lions from Texas (P. concolor stanleyana) living in south Florida (USA) between 1997 to 1998 were tested for antibodies to Bartonella henselae. Twenty percent (7/35) of the samples were reactive to B. henselae antisera with a subspecies prevalence of 18% (5/ 28) for Florida panthers and 28% (2/7) for cougars from Texas (USA). There was not a significant sex related difference in infection rates among the Florida panthers. Antibody prevalence was higher in panthers <2-yr of age (40%) compared to panthers >2-yr (13%). Compared to studies of antibody prevalence in mountain lions (P. concolor) from California (USA), overall seroprevalence was lower as was prevalence in panthers >2-yr-old. However, the seroprevalence in animals <2-yr from southern Florida was similar to prevalences reported in mountain lions or domestic felids in California.
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Vol. 36 • No. 1