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Serologic testing of badgers (Taxidea taxus) was used to monitor plague (Yersinia pestis) in a Townsend ground squirrel (Spermophilus townsendi) population in 10,000 ha of the Snake River Birds of Prey Study Area, Idaho. Eighty-six percent of the 294 sera tested in 1975 and in 1976 were positive. Significantly fewer (72%) seropositives occurred in 1977. Seasonal changes in the percentage of seropositives and the decline in 1977 were probably due to the phenology of the Townsend ground squirrel and the proportion of that species in the badger's diet. Eight Townsend ground squirrels found dead had positive bacteriologic tests for plague; however, a high mortality in the ground squirrel population was not observed. Food habits and movement patterns of badgers made them ideal for documenting the geographical and temporal characteristics of the plague focus.
The modified Baermann funnel technique was evaluated to determine the effects of time of baermannization, fecal preparation, type and size of funnel, and type of filter on the number of first stage larvae of Protostrongylus spp. recovered from feces of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis). More larvae were recovered when fecal pellets were baermannized for 24 hr compared to 8 hr, and when feces were crushed than when left intact. Use of small funnels resulted in the recovery of more larvae per gram of feces than larger funnels, and glass funnels more than plastic ones. There was no difference in recovery of larvae between cheesecloth filters and cellulose filters.
Five species of helminths were recovered during a survey of 139 North American pine marten (Martes americana) from three areas of Manitoba: Alaria taxideae in 75 marten; Taenia sp. (cf. martis martis) in 16; Taenia mustelae in nine; Baylisascaris devosi in one; Trichinella sp. larvae in one. Taenia mustelae and Taenia sp. (cf. martis martis) were found in two different areas of the province, Taenia sp. (cf. martis martis) being isolated from the more northerly regions. Alaria taxideae, the most prevalent parasite in the survey, was common to all three areas. The intensity of infection and prevalence level of A. taxideae was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in the southern region of this study. Altogether, male marten had a significantly higher intensity of A. taxideae compared to females, although there was no significant difference in prevalence level. When data for A. taxideae was combined for sexes and for regions a significantly higher prevalence level in young-of-the-year marten was noted compared to juveniles or adults, but no significant difference in intensities among the three age classes was found. No significant differences were detected in the prevalence of A. taxideae, Taenia sp. (cf. martis martis), or T. mustelae between sexes or among age classes from any of the three areas.
Helminths of nine species were identified from 39 cougars obtained in northeastern Oregon (Wallowa, Baker, and Union counties), viz., Taenia omissa Lühe, 1910 (100%); T. ovis krabbei Moniez, 1879 (61%); T. hydatigena Pallas, 1776 (10%); Mesocestoides lineatus (Goeze, 1782) (5%); Toxascaris leonina (von Linstow, 1902) (69%); Toxocara cati (Schrank, 1788) (15%); Physaloptera praeputialis von Linstow, 1889 (13%); Pterygodermatites affinis (Jägerskiöld, 1904) (ca. 2%); and Trichinella sp. (larvae) (ca. 2%). In addition, undeveloped cestodes of the genus Taenia in 26 animals had lost rostellar hooks and could not be identified. Host-records, prevalence, and biological characteristics of some of the helminths are discussed.
Forty-five eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus Allen), collected over a 15 mo period from two areas of western Kentucky, were examined for disease conditions, helminth and arthropod parasites. A single lymphosarcoma, two cutaneous papillomas and the following parasites were identified: Hasstilesia tricolor, Taenia pisiformis, Cittotaenia mriabilis, Raillietina stilesiella, Obeliscoides cuniculi, Trichuris leporis, Longistriata noviberiae, Trichostrongylus calcaratus, Dermatoxys veligera, Odontopsyllus multispinosus, Cediopsylla simplex, Haemaphysalis leporispalustris, Ixodes dentatus, Amblyomma americanum, and Dermacentor variabilis. Simpson's Indices indicated that parasite communities were fairly diverse, with some degree of dominance exhibited by O. cuniculi, T. pisiformis and H. leporispalustris. The parasite faunas of rabbits from the two areas were similar. Hasstilesia tricolor was associated with the absence of kidney fat.
Two hundred thirty-three leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, were divided into two groups and their blood examined for trypanosomes. In Group I (n = 157), where the blood was examined by the hematocrit centrifuge technique (HCT), 36 (23%) were infected with trypanosomes. Eighteen were infected with Trypanosoma pipientis, 13 with Trypanosoma ranarum, three with Trypanosoma rotatorium and two with mixed infections of T. pipientis and T. ranarum. In Group II (n = 76) the blood was cultured and also examined by HCT and wet mounts. Trypanosomes (T. pipientis and T. ranarum) were detected in 24 frogs (33%) using all three techniques. Eleven T. pipientis were detected by HCT, however none by culture and two by wet mounts. Twelve T. ranarum were detected by culture while only 10 were found by HCT and five by wet mounts. One T. ranarum infection detected by HCT was missed by culture because of bacterial contamination. The HCT was consistently better than wet mount examinations. It is suggested that the HCT be used whenever possible in future trypanosome surveys.
Four blunt-snouted sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) were noted among 555 examined over a 13-yr period. Radiographs of one specimen revealed that the three rostral cartilage rods were abnormally short and failed to join at the anterior tip. The deformity appeared to be congenital. Four cases of vertebral lesions were noted in three species of shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus, Negaprion brevirostris and Odontaspis taurus). The vertebral columns had fused centra, ribs and neural arches, extra deposition and erosion of calcified material in the centra, and in one case, compression of centra. The causes of the vertebral lesions are unknown.
Hematology and blood chemistry studies were undertaken on 41 sea otters during a 3-yr period. The results are compared to corresponding values for other mustelids and diving marine mammals. Results showed the otters apparent adaptation to its marine environment by having values that were similar to those of pinnipeds and cetaceans.
An automatic blow-gun syringe which uses carbon dioxide gas as the injecting force is described. Upon striking the animal, carbon dioxide gas is released by the chemical combination of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and acid (vinegar), within the blow-gun syringe. The syringe has been used successfully with captive collared peccaries (Dicotyles tajacu). It has the advantages of longer stability, dependable gas expansion, reduction of drug loss, and consistent drug injection.