Blood samples were collected from 64 wild North American river otters (Lontra [Lutra] canadensis) from northern and eastern New York State and analyzed for serologic evidence of exposure to selected viral agents during a 1995–1996 translocation program. No clinical signs of disease nor lesions suggestive of prior viral exposure were seen. Titers were detected for antibodies against canine distemper virus, canine herpesvirus-1, and canine parvovirus-2 but not for antibodies against canine adenovirus-1, canine coronavirus, canine parainfluenza virus, rabies virus, feline herpesvirus-1, feline calicivirus, or feline coronavirus. This is the first report of titers for antibodies against canine herpesvirus-1 in North American river otters, and it suggests a low prevalence of antibody titers against most canine viruses in otter populations in northern and eastern New York. Confounding variables in this study could include exposure to domestic dogs associated with the project, prolonged time spent in captivity, and concurrent bacterial or parasitic infection. Stress-associated humoral immune suppression could have altered serologic profiles, especially in otters exposed to dogs after trapping but before venipuncture.
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Vol. 31 • No. 2