Serologic testing, radio-telemetry and post-mortem diagnostic evaluations were used to investigate survival and causes of mortality among 17 coyotes (Canis latrans) in south-central Georgia (USA). Prevalence of canine heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) microfilariae was lower (P = 0.057) among fall-captured (22%) than among winter-captured (75%) coyotes. Prevalence of heartworm was higher among adults than juveniles in the fall, but no significant difference was detected between animals captured in winter. Antibodies were found against canine parvovirus (65%), canine parainfluenza virus (59%), infectious canine hepatitis virus (41%), and Toxoplasma gondii (18%). Antibodies were not found to Brucella canis, canine coronavirus, five serovars of Leptospira interrogans, or canine distemper virus. Seroprevalence of canine parvovirus was lower (P = 0.009) among fall-captured animals (33%) than winter-captured animals (100%). The Kaplan-Meier estimate of annual survival was 0.500 for all animals. Juvenile survival did not differ (P = 0.79) from adult survival, but male survival (Ŝ = 0.217) was lower (P = 0.11) than female survival (Ŝ = 0.804). Two of nine (22%) mortalities were human-caused, one was due to concurrent canine parvovirus and canine distemper virus infections, one animal died of trauma, two were considered natural mortalities of unknown cause, and no cause of death could be determined for the remaining three animals. Natural mortality may be significant for coyotes in south-central Georgia, although there was no apparent link between exposure to pathogens and the animals' subsequent fate in our small sample.
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Vol. 28 • No. 4