Survival of Trichomonas gallinae was examined in white-winged dove (Zenaida asiatica) carcasses to assess whether birds that have been dead up to 8 hr can be sampled reliably for this protozoan. Carcasses of 100 T. gallinae-positive white-winged doves were separated into four groups of 25 birds, representing 2, 4, 6, and 8 hr post mortem sampling intervals and placed into an environmental chamber maintained at 27 C and 75% relative humidity. Live T. gallinae were isolated in 96, 100, 100, and 92% of the carcasses at each of the respective post mortem intervals. The experiment was repeated with another 100 carcasses of T. gallinae-positive white-winged doves placed in the environmental chamber, this time maintained at 27 C and 40% relative humidity. Live T. gallinae occurred in 96, 100, 96, and 100% of the carcasses at each of the respective post mortem intervals. Across both trials, the overall ability to detect positive birds from sampling carcasses up to 8 hrs post mortem was 97%. An a posteriori experiment was conducted in which 23 and 18 carcasses from the second trial were maintained in the environmental chamber at 27 C and 40% relative humidity and resampled at 24 and 48 hr post mortem, respectively. Live trichomonads were isolated from 91 and 44% of the carcasses at 24 and 48 hr, respectively. Results suggest live T. gallinae can be obtained from dove carcasses reliably up to 8 hr and possibly up to 24 hr after host death. The ability for T. gallinae to survive within this time interval can aid wildlife personnel in monitoring this protozoan at hunter check stations or obtaining samples from recently killed birds.
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Vol. 36 • No. 3