Serological tests play an important role in the detection of wildlife diseases. However, while there are many commercial assays and reagents available for domestic species, there is a need to develop efficient serological assays for wildlife. In recent years, marine mammals have represented a wildlife group with emerging infectious diseases, such as influenza, brucellosis, and leptospirosis. However, with the exception of disease-agent-specific assays or functional assays, few reports describe the use of antibody detection assays in marine mammals. In an indirect enzyme-linked immunoassay (EIA) or an immunofluorescence assay, antibody is detected using an antitarget species secondary conjugated antibody. The sensitivity of the assay depends on the avidity of the binding reaction between the bound antibody and the detection antibody. A commercial polyclonal antidog IgG conjugated antibody was tested in an EIA for its ability to sensitively detect the IgG of seven marine mammals including sea otter (Enhydra lutris), polar bear (Ursus maritimus), grey seal (Halichoerus grypus), harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) and one freshwater mammal: Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea). With the exception of Asian small-clawed sea otters, the detection of IgG in these marine mammals either exceeded or was nearly equal to detection of dog IgG. The use of the tested commercial antidog IgG antibody may be a valid approach to the detection of antibody response to disease in sea mammals.
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