Mexican wolves (Canis lupus baileyi), classified as probably extinct in the wild in Mexico and endangered in the US, were reintroduced into Arizona in 1998. We combined annual serologic testing results from samples collected between 2003 and 2016 from 108 wolves and known survival data from 118 wolves born in the recovery area from 2003 to 2014 to evaluate whether exposure to canine distemper virus (CDV) or canine parvovirus (CPV) was associated with a greater risk of mortality before 2 yr of age. We used mixed-effects logistic regression to estimate the effect of CDV and CPV on the probability of mortality. Annual seroprevalence rates for CDV and CPV ranged from 0% to 62% and from 33% to 100%, respectively (median, 14.2% and 90.3%, respectively). The covariate, age at testing, had a negative effect on mortality, indicating that younger animals had lower survival, whereas sex had little effect on mortality. The best-supported model excluded any effect of CPV or CDV on death before 2 yr old at both the pack and individual level. Although our analysis did not detect an effect of these viruses on mortality before 2 yr old, CDV was later identified as the cause of mortality in two individuals in 2017. Additional information is needed to assess the impact of these diseases on Mexican wolves.
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Vol. 55 • No. 3