The health of coyotes (Canis latrans) in urban areas has not been studied. Our objectives were to assess the health of coyotes in Tucson (Arizona, USA) by determining the prevalence of antibodies to selected pathogens, estimating survival rates, and identifying sources of mortality. We drew blood from 22 coyotes to evaluate the prevalence of heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) antigens, and antibodies to canine distemper virus (CDV), infectious canine hepatitis (ICH), canine parvovirus (CPV), and seven serovars of Leptospira interrogans. We trapped and radiocollared 19 coyotes to determine survival rates. We performed necropsies on 19 coyotes to quantify their general health, the presence of internal and external parasites, and causes of mortality. No coyotes tested positive for heartworm antigens. The prevalence of antibody to CDV, ICH, and CPV was 27, 50, and 100%, respectively. Twenty-seven percent of coyotes tested positive for one of five serovars of L. interrogans. The diseases for which coyotes in Tucson possessed antibodies appear to be enzootic in the population. The annual survival rate of coyotes was 0.72. Eleven necropsied coyotes were killed by cars, five coyotes were hit by cars, two were killed by a trapper, and the cause of death for one coyote was unknown. Coyotes in Tucson appear to be exposed to the viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections common in many coyote populations, but humans are the major source of mortality.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2